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Full text of "Donald McLeod's Gloomy memories in the Highlands of Scotland: versus Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Sunny memories in (England) a foreign land, or, A faithful picture of the extirpation of the Celtic race from the Highlands of Scotland"

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DONALD MLEODS ^'^^ 



Gloomy Memories 



^^ 



IN THE 



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^-^-^^C^U^^ 



Highlands of Scotland: 



VEBSUS 



{Vive. Ibariict fficccbcr Stowc'6 

SUNNY IVL EMORIES 

/y (England) a Foreign Land: 
^ OR A FAITHFUL PICTURE OF THE 

EXTIRPATION OF the CELTIC RACE 

FROM THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND. 







f»r J 



tfi\\Mik\\y^ /^ 



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GLAHfJOW:— AliCHIIJALD SINCLAIR, 10 BOTHWKI.L STKKiy^^ 

KniNBUROH: — John (iKANT, Oeoiiok iv. Bridck. X^^ <J/ ' 

TNVKRNE88 :— JoHN NoBLK, CaSTLE StRKKT. XiC ^ C>^ 

Oban: Hi ';n MacDonald, Esplanadk. /<vrc^<^ -^ \1 

/^^' ^ ^ 

1892. /^4^ 






PUBLISHERS PREFACE. 



In publishing a new edition of Donald Macleod's "Gloomy Memories" 
it may he interesting to sulmit a few facts regarding previous editions. 
The first edition, j)rinted for the author at the Chronicle Office, Edin- 
burgh, in 1841, consisted of a reprint of a number of letters addressed 
to the Edijibnifjh Weekly Chronicle. A second edition was published in 
Greenock in 185G, while a third edition, enlarged and improved, was 
published in Toronto, Canada, in 1857. 

Despite tlie fact tiiat three editions were published, the work was within 
recent years all but impossible to procure. The idea of publishing the 
present edition, which is a reprint of that published in Canada, is due 
to ]Mr. John Campbell, a patriotic Mull man resident in Greenock, wlio, 
impressed with the educative value of the ** Gloomy Memories," set about 
collecting subscriptions with the view of having an edition published at 
a pffce that would place the work within the reach of all. To his efforts 
therefore, conjoined with the patriotism of a number of Celts and others 
interested in the Highlands, the public are indebted for the pixisent 
re-issue of the "Gloomy Memories." 







PREFACE TO THE PRESENT EDITION, 



\\--=.- 



Masy things have happened in the County of Sutherland, as well as 
in the Highlands generally, since 184041, when Donald MacLeod wrote 
to the Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle about " the Sutherland Clearances," 
and even since the later portions of this work were called forth by Mrs. 
I^eecher Stowe's attempt in her '' Sunny Memories " to whitewash the 
house of Sutherland after its defilement from contact with the fire and 
crow-bar brigade of that county. To many interested in the Highlands 
of Scotland, the title of this book has been long familiar, and the name 
of Donald MacLeod has long been esteemed and honoured. Few, how- 
ever, of the present generation have read the " Gloomy Memories" as 
the earlier editions are long out of print, and but comparatively few of 
the Canadian edition, published in 1857, reached this country. In these 
circumstances it may be interesting to give a few facts regarding the 
author of this patriotic work, and the causes which led him to publish 
his " Gloomy Memories." 

Donald MacLeod was hotw at Ilossal, Strathnaver, where his father, 
William MacLeod, was at the time a farmer. When Donald was about 
twenty years of age, his father was obliged to leave his little farm in 
order that it might form pai-tofagiganticsheepi-un, and wasobliged to accept 
a croft among othei-s at the foot of the Strath, in A ird-dn-ia^gaich. After- 
wards, the family were removed to Strathy Point, whence Donald had 
to make anotlier move at the instance of Patrick Sellar's successor. He 
removed southward, keeping as long as he could within the bounds of 
the county. The la.st employment he had in his native shire was as a 



n)ason building the breast on the north side of the Kyle, and to the east 
of the bridge of Bonar. 

From this he went to Edinburgh, where he found access to tlie press, 
but such an ''agitator" was not likely to receive much encouragement in 
that city of " law and order," and accordingly Donald MacLeod went to 
Canada, where he ended his days. In Woodstock, Ontario, he prepared 
for the press, the edition which was published for him in 1857, by 
Thomson i Coy., Colonist Office, Toronto. 

No one who reads the "Gloomy Memories" and considers the author's 
environments and opportunities, can fail to observe the marked ability 
with which he states his facts, and the firmness displayed at a time when 
his sentiments could find but little support and scanty approval. Despite 
the attempts of Mrs Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Commissioner James Loch, 
M.P., to whitewash the Sutherland escutcheon, and the various efforts of 
the Sellar family to vindicate the memory of their father, yet the state- 
ments made by Donald MacLeod have never been overturned or refuted 
— indeed they have in these latter days been fully substantiated. The Royal 
Commission appointed in 1883 to enquire into the condition of the 
Highland Crofters had ample evidence submitted to it in the county 
regarding the Sutherlandshire clearances, their extent and attendant 
cruelties. At its sittings in Edinburgh, the Commission heard the 
evidence of two witnesses of these cruel evictions, as well as received 
fifteen duly attested affidavits of old men then living who had been eye- 
witnesses of the clearances, and of the acconipanying atrocities. 

The conduct of the clergy during the period of these evictions must 
call forth the censure of all right thinking persons. Instead of pleading 
the cause of the poor and defending the widow and orphan, they, with 
one or two exceptions, aided and abetted the evictors and sought to 
justify their conduct. Nor is the attitude of the clergy towards the 
Crofter Agitation in our own day much better. As a rule — with just 
sufficient exceptions to prove the rule — they have either sided with the 
oppressors of the people and condemned the agitators, or displayed a 
callous indifference when the most vital interests of their people were at 
stake. Even many of the successors of those who protested so 
vehemently against "site refusers" in 1843, are frequently found 
attempting to justify the oppression and extortion of modern landlordism. 
It is therefore a matter of profound thankfulness that the people have 
asserted their rights and demanded a restitution of privileges long 
denied them. Till within recent years the Highland people were denied 



Ill 

a voice in the making of those laws under which they lived. An ex- 
tended franchise has recently endowed them with a new existence and 
their sufferances are now sought for with a persistency indicative of 
their importance in the domain of politics. * 

The Crofters' Act of 1886, despite its imperfections and aggrivating 
limitations, is based on the historic rights of the Celts, and is therefore 
but an earnest of what must yet be conceded, if the Highlanders 
are united in their desires and persistent in their demands. How it 
would have cheered the heart of Donald MacLeod had he lived to see 
the passing of the Crofters' Act, and he would have been gratified beyond 
measure to find that the electors of his native county had, at the last general 
election, declined the blandishments of those in authority and sent a 
crofter's son, Mr Angus Sutherland to Parliament to represent them — and 
so furnished all other constituencies with an example well worthy of 
imitation. 

Glasgow, 1892. FIONN. 

* In 1S84 the Sutherland constituency was 325, in 1885 the extended franchise 
raised it to 3180. 



INTRODUCTION 

TO CANADIAN EDITION. 



To Donald Matheson, Esq., M.P.P., for North Oxford, Canada West, 
and William Maxson, Esq., Captain of the Highland Guards, New 
York, Scottish Highlanders, and their descendants in the Csaiadas, 
and in the United States of America. 

Gentlemen, — In dedicating the following narrative to you, the author 
has not the vanity to suppose that you will be honoured thereby, containing 
as it does a narration of painful facts, connected with the suffering and 
depreciation of a onct mighty race of people, who had largely contributed 
to the renown of Britain as a nation, and instrumental in raising her to 
her present proud position among the nations of the earth. It is not the 
object of the author to dilate here upon the antiquity and character of the 
Celtic race, but expose the cruelty and injustice to which they have been 
subjected by the aristocracy of Great Britain, and tolerated by the Gov- 
ernment, seemingly with the avowed intention to extirpate them root and 
branch from the land of their birth and home of their forefathers, and to 
convert the fertile valleys of Caledonia, " the land of the brave," into 
hunting and sheep walks. Doubtless the cruel dealings of Highland aris- 
tocracy to the down-trodden sons and daughters of Caledonia, will find 
apologists, and even at the j>resent time they have procured an American 
literary luminary, who promises well to whitewash their foul deeds, partic- 
ularly the Sutherlandshire depopulators (o/'^Ac /o«^ pwy-s^); and endeav- 
ouring to make it appear that all tlie author and others have written about 
the Sutherlandshire clearances, were malicious accusations and groundless 
grievances ; but she zvill not get Scot free away with it. I know, 
ex{)erimentally, that the advocates of the poor man's rights do labor under 
many disadvantiiges ; still the author of this work rejoices that he has it 
in his power to appeal to hundreds of his countrymen to attest the veracity 
of all the statements he advances, and has confidence in his own abilities 
to bring home every charge of cruelty and oppression practised upon the 
Sutherlandshire Higlilandersby their ruthless and tyrannical lords of the 
soil and their underlings. This unvarnished narrative, imperfect as it 
may be, in regard to its literary character, is however, inscribed not from 
any mercenary motives, but as a humble tribute of regard for your well 
known sym})athie8 for the wrongs of your oppressed countrymen : trust- 
ing, that a liberal allowance will be made for the limited literary attain- 
ments of 

Yours respectfully, 

DONALD MCLEOD. 

Woodstock, 20th Feb., 1857. 



Gentlemen and Fellow Countrymen : — 

It is true, as many of you said, that we have had at one time a nativity, 
and a native country, to which we and our forefathers were married and 
loved — where we have kindred feelings and associations, as sacred to our 
memory as almost our very existence. It is true that we are the genuine 
descendants of a race of whom we have much cause to be proud, and 
boast of — for we may turn up the pages of antiquity and ransack modern 
and ancient history in vain, to find out a race of people, among whom 
bravery and patriotism existed equal to the Celtic race, or among whom 
Civilization, Science, Literature, Morality, Benevolence, and Humanity, 
made such progress as among the Celtic, who occupied the Highlands of 
Scotland. But alas, alas ! It is true, that all that they were — all that 
they have done for ungrateful Britain, went for nothing when their ene- 
mies got the upper hand of them. It is now a lamentable truth, that the 
Highlands of Scotland (Tir mo ghraidh. Tir nam beann, nangleann 's nan 
gaisgeach) which the Boraan army in their victorious days failed toconquer 
— which the brutal Edwards, and Cromwell, and many other formidable 
invaders failed to subdue — are now converted to a howling solitary wilder- 
ness, from which joy and rejoicing are fled for ever. Where the martial 
notes of the bag-pipes, echoed by mountains and glens, ceased to be 
heard — and where no sweeter strains to cheer the stranger who may hap- 
pen to travel there, are heard, than the yell of shepherds and foxhunters 
the bleating of sheep, the barking of collie dogs, and the screeches of the 
owl and eagle. 

It is true my friends, that I have devoted all my spare time and means, 
for the last thirty-four years, expostulating, remonstrating with, and expo- 
sing the desolators of my country, and extirpators of my race, from the 
land of their birth, and advocating the cause of the suffering people, dur- 
ing these trying, murdering, and desolating times — considering that I 
could not serve God in a more acceptable way, than to help those who 
could not help themselves. Thousands of my countrymen in this country, 
and elsewhere, will bear me witness in what I have suffered at the hands 
of the scions of Highland aristocracy, for performing what I considered 
my incumbent duty. 

Not knowing my position in life, especially my pecuniary circumstances, 
many of my countrymen in the Canadas, say — Why not come out Donald 
M'Leod with your long promised Highland Cabt?i, that the cruel conduct, 
and ungodly oppression of Highland oppressors, may be immortalized in 
the Canadas. 

Your importunities are most agreeable to me, for I bear in my mind an 
undying desire to gratify you, and I hope in the course of some time, that 
I will accomplish it. 

The only excuse I can plead for the delay, is my circumscribed circum- 
stances. I have been peeled and plucked so often, that there was scarcely 
a feather in my wings when I left Scotland, and they are but slowly pro- 
gressing as yet — rbut there is hope of their restoration. To solicit aid 
was hitherto foreign to my mind, but now I am old and have learnt, 
(nach sluagh duine na 6nar) that one man is not a people. 



The time is now come when I consider I have to perform my part to 
gratify you. The conflicting opinions and ideas regarding the rights of 
jiroperty, more especially j)ro|)erty in land, and what constitutes property 
in land, is a great barrier in my way : all who read and believe sacred 
liistory, I think will agree with me, that the whole creation of God was at 
one time public property. How is the most part of God's creation now 
taken out of His hands, and converted to individual private property \ 
Since history took notice of the movement of nations, I can trace only 
three fundamental, feasible laws, which constitute right of property in 
land, viz : — the laws of discovery, of conquest, and of purchase. For 
instance, when a seafaring captain discovei-s a continent, or an island, he 
takes possession of it in the name of his Sovereign and Government. 
On his return he is rewarded. Government transports, with soldiers, sur- 
veyors, pioneers, tkc, are dispatched to ascertain the mineral wealth 
and various resources of the land, and all expenses for discovery, and of 
the expedition are paid out of the public treasury, hence the discovered 
land becomes national property. Emigration will follow, commissioners 
are appointed by government, (and paid out of the public purse) to sell 
the land. The land is sold, but under cei-tain stipulations, and these 
<;onditions must be observed, or the purchase right is forfeited. Though 
you purchased the land legally, and pay for it punctually, still government 
has a perfect right, (at least should have) to compel the obstinate and 
vicious to cultivate, or use the land for the greatest good or benefit of the 
lieges ; wise governments do in all cases retain for themselves the power 
that no right of property in land shall be a barrier to public good and 
prosi)erity ; railways and canals can be driven through your land, quarries 
and gravel pits can be opened in your corn-fields, whether you will or not, 
so that in my opinion land cannot be, nor should be, private property 
that a man can do what he pleases with it. 

There are many vicious, inhumane, and unconstitutional men in this 
world, and to be found among land owners in greater ratio than any other 
classes I know or read about. Now supposing that one or any number of 
thcin took it into their heads to convert their estates into hunting parks, 
lays, and preserves of wild and destructive animals, which could neither 
be enclosed nor prevented from depradatory inroads upon other people's 
pro|>erty — purposely to afford themselves, their rich friends, and favourite 
companions amusement, or to let their domains upon rent to sportsmen, 
should not government interfere. But to find these men boldly entering 
both Houses of Parliament with a bill demanding an Act of Parliament to 
protect them in their wicked and unconstitutional scheme, and to punish 
by banishment or long imprisonment, any one who would even trespass 
upon the ])roserve8 or lays of these animals to annoy them. But this is 
not all, but an act whereby they could seize upon the propt;rty of their 
poorer co-proprietors and neighbours, bum down their habitations, banish 
themselves from the land, and add their property to their own extensive 
game preserves. You surely would consider this etFrontery without a par- 
allel in the annals of plunderers ; and T am sure you will agree with me 
that the imbecillity, yea, insunity of the Legislature or Government who 



•vrould enact such laws and grant such liberties, are beyond the compre- 
hension of rational beings ; likewise that the shortsightedness, culpable 
carelessness, and cowardice of a nation boasting of their civilization, intel- 
ligence, and Christianity, who would tolerate such unwise and ungodly 
proceedings are beyond descrii)tion. But you say Donald are you 
raving, where did such enormities take place 1 I tell you in Scotland ;. 
yes in beloved and never to be forgotten Scotland, in Caledonia T)r nam 
heann, nan gleann's nan Gaisgcach, — "the land of the mountains, 
the cataracts, and heroes" still worse than this took place, and I will make 
it as clear as noonday to you in my narrative, — yes, after the union of 
England and Scotland, far more insane and unconstitutional laws were 
enacted, and to the everlasting disgrace of the British Parliament and 
nation are still allowed a stain upon the statute book, and in full opera- 
tion, to rob the poor to make the rich richer — to gratify a few avaricious 
minions who, constitutionally speaking, forfeited their rights of properly, 
(with very few exceptions) their rights and privileges of communion with 
christians, and who should long ere now be arrainged before the highest 
trihuial of the nation, and dealt with as conspirators and traitors. Men 
who have neither bravery, ancestry, virtue, or honour to boast of ; men 
who cannot claim the rights of discovery ^ of conquest, of defending, nor of 
purchase to the land they now hold as their private property, and con- 
sidering their rights to these lands sacred. "$}!^^-^ 
Very few Historians, however unprincipled and partial, ever attempted 
to deprive the Celtic race of their right of discovery to Scotland, and we 
have ample pToof in history of how the Celts defended Scotland from 
every invader from the first invasion of the Romans down to the ignoble 
un^on or alliance with England; so that Scotland stands alone among the 
nations of the known world unconquered. No doubt the Lowlands of 
Scotland have been jnvaded and conquered more than once ; but when 
these powerful invaders came to exchange blows with the (unmixed in 
blood) Celtic Caledonians, they met with more than their match, were 
repelled, had to retrace their steps, and often not many of them left to 
retrace their steps. If this is admitted, (and who can deny it) I maintain 
that the lineal descendents of the discoverers and defenders of Scotland, 
are the real proprietors of the land, and that every one of that lineage from 
John O'Groat to INIaiden Kirk, has as good a right to a portion of the 
land as the Dukes of Roxburgh, Buecleuch, Hamilton, Athol, Argyle, 
Gordon, or Sutherland, who (along with other nine or ten Earls, Mar- 
quises and Lords) hold more than the two-thirds of Scotland, as their 
private property, exclusively for themselves and their families' agrandize- 
ment, luxury and amusement, and three-fourths of their domains devoted 
to rear brute animals. How the legitimate heirs of children of the soil 
were dispossessed and expelled, and how aliens and cruel bastards got 
possession of the Scottish soil, is to be explained. To trace the history 
of the Celtic race down from the Garden of Eden to Cape-wrath, in 
Sutherlandshire would be the work of supererogation, hence I must con- 
fine myself to the time since history took hold of their movements and 
system of Government; and however complicated, conflicting, and partial 



historians are upon the genealogy, customs and government of this 
race, it is evident that braver men never existed, and no other race on 
record who excelled them in litei-ature, science, and civilization. 

I would in particular solicit the attention of my readers to what they 
should all know — the chain of Scottish historians, whose works are still 
extant, though suppressed and locked up from those who should be edified 
by them — works sufficient to convince the most obdurate, that learning and 
civilization always followed our race from the earliest ages, not only in 
Scotland but in other nations where they made a distinguished figure. 
" I am tired," says Julius Leichton, "of hearing the Roman authors 
quoted, when the commencement of our civilization is spoken of, while 
nothing is said of the Celts, or of our obligation to them. It was not the 
Latins, it was the Gaids who were our first instructors. Aristotle 
declared that philosophy was derived by the Greeks from the Gauls, and 
not imparted to them. The Gauls were truly of sharp wit and apt to 
leara. So much did the Briton Celts excel in profound learning, that 
the youths of the continent came hitherto to study by a course of no less 
than twenty year's ])robation." (See Tacitus s life of Agricola.) Read 
the same Roman historian's admiration and description of the Caledonian 
Celts under the command of Corbred the Second, surnamed Galgacus and 
twenty -second King of Scotland, when they confronted the Romam army 
under the command of Agricola, at the foot of the Grampian hills, where 
a most sanguinary battle was fought ; and though the Romans by strata- 
tiem g.ained a partial victory, and when Agricola proposed to pursue them, 
•' No," said Tacitus (his son-in-law) " be content that you have so many 
of the Roman soldiers to lead oflfthe field that if you pursue the defeated 
Caledonians one league further, you shall not have one Roman soldier to 
guard your person going home. These are the most formidable, and 
bravest enemy that ever Rome had to confront, every one of them will die 
l)efore they yield, they are true patriots, Agricola, make all haste to your 
strongholds or you are done." So the Romans had to retrace their steps, 
and the Calenonians jmrsued them until the Romans were ultimately 
driven into the sea. Columba burned many of these Celtic records, yet 
many survived his ravages. St. Patrick burned one hundred and eighty- 
nine of those works at Tara, Ireland, all written in the Gaelic language, 
with a little mixture of Latin. Edward the First, of England, destroyed 
many of them, and after the ignoble union with England, what portion of 
them were preserved extant from these ravages, are now suppressed so as 
to deprive Scotland of their Celtic record and of the history of their grand- 
fathers. J find thirty seven of these records supprt^ssed, and locked up in 
libraries where only a few favorites are admitted, and those say very little 
about them, except wlmt they say to mutilate and violate them. To 
enumerate all the works in the Gaelic, Latin, and English language, now 
.suppressed, would require more room or space than I can spare in 
this anuill narrative. Among the.se works, we find the ancient annals of 
Scotland ; the Pictish Chronicle of high antitjuity ; 'the register of St. 
Andrew, beginning with 827, when that university was founded by the 
jirimitive Celtic christians of Scotland j the works of Nenius in the 






VI 

seventh century ; the annals of Dunbarton, beginning with the Colum- 
bian period ; the Chronicle of Melrose, partly written in Gaelic, and 
partly in Latin ; the Obituary and Chartularly of Glasgow ; the History 
of Scotland by Vermandus, Arch-Deacon of St. Andrew, in 1079, 
Hector Boethius, first principal of Aberdeen College, his history cut deep 
and is on that account abhorred by the English, (on the savage charge 
given by Edward the First to his no less savage son, to boil him after he 
was dead, and to carry his bones with him to frighten the Scots) — Boethius 
remarks that after he was boiled, " few would sup the broth." The black 
book of Paisley, the last part of which is a continuation of Scots' Chroni- 
con. Also Lord Elibank's Treatise on the Scottish League with France 
in the reign of Charlemange ; and the vast collection of Scottish Annals 
collected by Sir James Balfour, still preserved, particularly his registers 
of Scone and Cambuskeneth, now locked up in the Advocates' Library, 
Edinburgh, besides his history of Fergus the First to Charles the First; 
together with the Monastic Chronicles, under the appropriate title of 
Scottish Annals. 

But all these and as many more are suppressed, and locked up, but still 
extant; besides this we have about one hundred manuscript volumes in the 
Gaelic language, collected and in the possession of the Highland Society, 
Edinburgh, some of which were transcribed in the fifth century, and is 
allowed by competent judges, to be the oldest document written in any 
living language; the document itself is sufficient to prche its author. He 
was named Fithil, rector of the High School of lona. The volume con- 
sists of two poems, inculcating the only true guide to well-doing here, and 
eternal happiness hereafter, viz. : that spotless morality which is alone 
founded on the word of God ; there is also a critical dissertation on a 
singular poem, Tain Bo^ or the cattle spoil, an event which happened only 
five years after the Ascension. All of these Gaelic volumes consists of 
treatises on Botany, Anatomy, Astronomy, Astrology, Theology, Economy, 
Science, Literature, and Politics; all in the Gaelic language, but all (as I 
said before) suppressed or lying useless, locked up in universities' and 
societies' libraries. It is a very natural enquiry ; — Why are these works 
suppressed or locked up] or by whom, and what is the cause for it? — 
They are suppressed by the British Government, and the cause is obvious 
but ignoble in the extreme. 

Previous to the miscalled union of Scotland and England it is evident 
that England could never conquer Scotland until the Cakidonians were 
subdued ; they often made bloody attempts, but were as often defeated ; bu t 
England had recourse to intrigues, her favourite weapons, and after secur- 
ing her alliance with Scotland, she found it a very easy task to conquer. 
What her arms, and her bloody and murdeious kings and generals could 
never achieve, her treacherous intrigues and money did for her. She got 
Scot to fight against Scot, Caledonian against Caledonian. She then 
laughed in her sleeve, and exulted like the lion in the fable when he 
saw the two bulls in the same park with him quarrelling and fighting ; 
knowing they would soon become his pray, for she {stretched vpon a 
couch of doivn) had her soul satisfaction to see the two d stupid 



Scottish bulls lighting between death and life until they ultimately con- 
quered and subdued one another in 1746, upon the murderous and unfor- 
tunate field of Culloden, when the English insatiable Lion seized upon 
them both, and Scotland, who, before this, was the piide and protectoress 
and faithful ally of all the reformed christian nations of the world, and 
the terror of England; and all other cruel ambitious nations, her name 
became now Ic/iabod, her glory departed, she forfeited her proud position 
among nations, aud ceased forever to be numbered among them or recog- 
nized as a nation. England seized her Government, her laws, and in 
short her all. The duped, affected, and the disaffected, shared alike. 
No doubt the Duke of Cumberland, the most obnoxious, cowardly monster, 
that ever disgraced humanity, commissioned his followers to acts of mur- 
der, plunder, and violence. Thank God, unprecedented in the histories of 
nations (excepting England) plunder which some of them do enjoy to this 
day, Argyle among the noblest of them. In that unfortunate year the 
Black Act was enacted, which deprived the Caledonians of their national 
^arb, of their arms, and forbade them to wear either under the 
[•ains and penalties of heavy fines, long imprisonment, and banishment. 
Tliis nefarious act was in force, and strictly watched for thirty-two 
years, which is equal to a generation. Our poets, the reprovers of evil 
rowardly deeds, and the recorders of the deeds of valiant men, were 
silenced, and many of them made a narrow escape from the gallows, for 
their pensive memoirs of the fallen at Culloden, on the day when Scot- 
land was prostrated, at the foot of her avowed enemy, a day pregnant with 
degradation, slavery, and the desolation and misery I have to record ; all 
the Gaelic manuscript and history that could be discovered, by hook or 
by crook, was seized, d€\stroyed, or locked up, among which was the 
national records, from Fergus the First, to William the First, and none 
who understood the language were admitted to see them ; and after the 
elapse of thirty-two years of this Reign of Terror very few were found 
to peruse or understand the language. 

There were various motives for these outrageous proceedings, against the 
Caledonians in particular, and they answered their various designs to the 
Jiristocrats heart's desire. England knew that the most effectual way to 
.sul)due the Celts, was to crush their loyalty to their legitimate sovereign, 
to crush their kindred feeling, habits and customs, and extirpate the 
patriarchial system of government from among them ; but there was 
another primary cause, viz. : the Celtic history of Scotland recorded the 
feudal brutality of English invaders in Scotland, which is indeed too 
horrifying to sj^eak of, hence would need to be suppressed, tliat England's 
barbarity miglit he obliterated, and that Scotland and Ireland might be 
saddled with all her sina. Moreover that Scotland might be left defence- 
less from the attacks of England's hired historians, to defame her in her 
government and her chivalry, in her patriotism, her customs, Iier science, 
and literature, and to make everything that was great and good, English. 
It is a notorious fact that so far as the ingenuity of tliese hired emniisaries 
could go, they were faithful to their employers ; and that these noted 
calumniators of Scotland were chosen from among her own treacherou.s 



VIU 

sons, beginning with Robertson, under the dictation and command of 
Horace Walpole, the notorious Dupe of Chatertou, down to infamous 
Babington Macaulay. Limits will not permit me to detail the injustice 
done to Cedonians by these AeVerZ literary scourges, yet with all that they 
have done, there is still extant of the history of our noble race, enough to 
make these mutilators blush, and more than enough to make their spurious 
sarcasm and unfounded calumny stink in Scottish and in the world's 
nostrils. Five hundred years before the Christian Era, the Celts took 
possession of Scotland, and down from that period they governed them- 
selves under the Patriarchial system, until the last remnant of it was 
destroyed upon the unfortunate muir ef CuUoden ; they had their kings 
and chieftains, who were entrusted with their government, not by hereditary 
rights, but as they were found competent to discharge their duties. They 
obeyed and ardently loved and respected their kings and chieftains while 
they behaved themselves, but no further ; never allowed them to interfere 
with the rights of the land any further than to parcel it out to their 
followers impartially, and the people parcelled out to them what they con- 
sidered sufficient to keep them comfortable and respectable. The chief- 
tains or captains were amenable to the king in all their proceedings ; 
when a dispute arose between the people and their chief, that could not 
be settled otherwise, it was submitted to the king as their umpire ; his 
decision was final. 

When the king required men to defend the nation, each chief had to 
appear with so many trained men, in proportion to the number entrusted 
to them ; and in proportion as they distinguished themselves on the battle 
iield, they were honoured and rewarded by the king. According to our 
Celtic Annals, the founder of the noble family of Sutherland (after which 
now an Englishman takes his name, and who will make a conspicuous 
figure in my narrative) flourished in the year seventy-six, and fought 
under Galgacus, the hero of the Grampians, (see NichoU's Scottish 
Peerage) and we find another of that noble family of Thanes, Barons, and 
Earls, who kept their history unsullied from any acts of cruelty or injus- 
tice for more than nineteen hundred years, and their memory dear to those 
under them for ages. I say we find him joining Bobert Bruce upon the 
memorable field of Bannockburn, leading a powerful and resolute body of 
his retainers to the field of slaughter; upon this great occasion they distin- 
guished themselves so well that the king complimented their noble leader 
upon the field of battle, and shortly afterwards presented him with a charter 
of lands in Morayshire, Caithness and Sutherland Shires; but upon the 
express conditions that he would attend to the military discipline of those 
brave man, and that he and his offspring, and they and their oft'spring, 
would possess those lands while he and them continued loyal subjects, and 
attached to the crown of Scotland ; many similar distinctions were made 
and charters granted by Robert Bruce after the battle of Bannockburn, 
but all on the same conditions. Many of the Scotch Kings and Queens 
who succeeded Bruce were still more strict upon the chief or captains ; 
they were restricted to only a few acres of pleasure ground, and no piece 
of land susceptible of cultivation was to remain uncultivated, or unoccu- 



])ied, and the mountains and forests were free to all. Kings, queens, and 
captains, knew that men, faithful adherents, who had an interest in the soil, 
were tlieir safeguard and protectors in the hour of need and of danger, 
and they valued their services. This is the fundamental Patriarchial laws 
of property in land in Scotland. How were these laws reversed, and that 
now, H very few men claim every inch of land in Scotland, as their private 
)»roperty, and tlieir rights to these sacred? Have they purchased their 
lands from the rightful owners? No. Have they got it from Heaven 1 
Xo ; but by taking the advantage of the revolts, and revolutions which 
followed the dethroning of the legitimate Sovereigns, and the treacherous 
union with England, they managed to plunder the people of it. After the 
union a new sacred perishable parchuient right of property was conse- 
crated, and not a vestige of right or of protection was left for the people 
only that the land was bound to maintain the disabled poor in so much of 
I he necessaries of life as was considered sufficient to sustain life, and so far 
was this same vestige neglected, that it was for one hundred and twenty 
years lying under dust, unmolested, in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, 
iiul the poor throughout Scotland perishing and dying in want, and might 
-leep there yet, was it not for that Godfearinfj man, Mr Charles Spence, 
Solicitor, Supreme Court, at the entreaties of many, made a search, and 
found it and took an active part in putting it in. force. I myself went to 
Sutherlandshire and supplied Mr. Spence with seventy-two cases of the 
1 )ucal Estate, besides what I supplied from the neighbouring Counties and 
I'^states ; we took action in some of them and were successful, the Court 
'f Session was crowded with poor cases, there the hue and ci'f/ got up, 
Highland landlords will be ruined and lowland landlords will not escape. 
Sir l)uncan MacNeil was then Lord Advocate for Scotland. He was soli- 
cited to prej>are a poor law bill to parliament to save Highland landlords 
from ruin and bankruptcy. Sir Duncan went to work, prepared an admi- 
jfible bill, or rather a compilation of complications, of crook and straights, 
hollows and holds, short and long, mockery and realities, sense and non- 
sense, heaj)ed up in a voluminous volume, he hurried the bill through 
both Houses of Parliament, and behold the result ; tlie poor were deprived 
of the only vestige of right they had, and poverty made a crime, no man 
however charitably disposed can interfere in their behalf now; but Sir 
Duncnn like a wise philosopher secured a luxurious situation for his bro- 
ther Sir John, who sits at the head of the Board of Supervision in 
lOdinburgh, gauging the stomachs of the Scottish poor to know to a nicety 
how much food they require to sustain life. The operation of this bill is 
a disgrace to Christianity, as you will see when I come to shew it up in its 
proper place. But sinful and unjust as this bungling bill is, yet High- 
land landlords found a loop-hole to get rid of it untouched. They had 
a long established law by which they could expel the poor of the soil, to 
foreign lands or to large towns where they had to be siistained by people 
wlio had no right to do it, and who had no hand in im|>overishing them and 
besides they have an arbitrary power, (which none durst contend) to tax 
the rest of their retjiiners, who in most cases are not much better off than 
the paupers, they are taxed for their maintainance ; but they dare not 



whisper a complaint or off they go ; in this way the Highland minions 
got oi Scot free. But their unhallowed schemes are constituted in their 
edicts forbiddinor marria^jes on their estates. I have before me a letter 
from a friend stating that there are in the parish of Clyne, Sutherlandshire, 
a parish of small size, seventy-five bachelors, the oldest of them seventy- 
five years ; and the youngest of them thirty-five years of age, only two 
marriages, and three baptisms registered ; in another parish one baptism no 
marriage, and so on. It is not very likely that they would tell Mrs. 
B. Stowe, or that she enquired about this edict, in order to give it a place 
in her sunny memories, but she must have it. More of this afterwards. 
In 1846, the result of expelling the people from their fertile valleys and 
straths, and huddling them (those who could not make their escape to 
foreign lands or elsewhere) together in motley groups upon patches of 
barren moors, precipices, and by corners upon the sea shore, exposed to all 
the casualities of the seasons ; places with few exceptions never designed 
by God for cultivation, nor for the abode of man, without the least en- 
couragement for improvement, all tenants at will ready to be turned away 
for the least offence, or when a grazier or huntsman envied their places. 

This is a cursed scheme which was adopted by every Highland lahdlord, 
from Cape-wrath to the Mull of Kintyre, with one or two honourable excep- 
tions, (it would be more applicable if I called these Highland scourges). 
I say in the year 1846-'47, when the miserable unnourishing potatoe 
crop which was reared upon these patches failed, then the cry of famine 
in the Highlands got up like the voice of thunder, sounded and resounded, 
to the outmost skirts of Europe, India, and America; public meetings 
were called to see what could be devised and done to save the people. 
The first meeting was held in the Music Hall, Edinburgh, the Lord 
Provost Black, presided ; the E,ev. Norman M'Leod, junior, moved the 
first resolution, which ran nearly thus : — " As it pleased God in his 
mysterious providence to visit the Highlands and Islands of Scotland with 
Famine on account of their sin, that it behoved Christains of all denomi- 
nations who were blessed with the means to come forward liberally that 
the Highlanders might be saved." The resolution was seconded and 
supported when his Lordship rose to put it to the meeting, I got up and 
announced that I had a few words to say before it was put to the meeting, 
being in my moleskin working dress every eye was fixed upon me, the 
same as if I was a wolf that had sprang up ; however I got a hearing and said 
that I was a Highlander, and knew, the cause of distress and famine in the 
Highlands, and that I had devoted all my spare time for many years back 
proclaiming it publicly in their ears, and the ears of the nation, predict- 
ing that ultimately it would arrive at this fearful crisis, and now I cannot 
sit quiet in this great assembly of learned men, and hear the sins and 
heavy guilt of Highland proprietors saddled upon my God, and that by 
his well paid servant. Will the Rev. mover of this resolution tell me 
what cause he supposes the Lord has against the poor Highlanders for so 
long a time (for they were not in a much better state for the last twenty- 
six years than they are now), that he should send a famine among them 
to destroy them ; or do the leaders of this movement consider themselves 



more humane and merciful than God, or that puny man or men can con- 
tend with him in doing what He in His mysterious providence, purposed 
to do ; methinks, that if God was to visit sinners with famine or any other 
calamity for their sins, that He would begin in London and with Highland 
j)roprietors, and not with the poor people who were more sinned against 
than sinners. Highland landlords are the legitimate parents, and the guilty 
authors of this and of former distress and famine in the Highlands of Scot- 
land, and should l)e made responsible for it and for future calamities which 
they are storing up for the unfortunate victims of their boundless avarice. 
I did not come to this meeting, my Lord Provost, with a -view to obstruct 
the proceedings, for I rejoice to see such steps taken to save the the people, 
not from the famine God sent among them to destroy them, but from the 
famine entailed upon them by their wicked unworthy landlords. But if 
God is not exonerated from the charge brought against Him, publicly here 
this day, and entirely separated from an ungodly association of Highland 
aristocrats, who were bent for years upon the destruction of Highlanders, 
and uix)n the extermination of the race from the soil, I will be under the 
necessity of proposing a counter resolution." His Lordship pledged him- 
self that the committee would take it into consideration. I did not press my 
motion and the meeting proceeded. The appeal went forth, and was 
responded to in a manner creditable to the nation, the colonies and the 
United States of America. In less time than could be expected, the 
unj)recedented sum of £300,000 was subscribed, and the legitimate parents 
of this distress were not behind with their subscriptions. Lord Macdonald 
subscribed, among the first, one thousand pounds sterling, Duke of Suther- 
land, two thousand pounds, other Dukes, Lords, Earls, and notorious Colonel 
Gordon, followed the example so far. The sole n\anagement of this 
enormous sum of money was placed in the hands of Government for dis- 
tribution ; Ijord Trevelyan, the Hero of tiie Test Starving Commission in 
Ireland, was appointed as commissioner for the distribution of this munifi- 
cent gift of nations for the relief of Highlanders. He got a brig of 
war rigged out for his service, commanded by one Captain Elliot, an 
Englishnjan, an accomplished tool in the hands of tyrants and calumnia- 
tors. The llighlandeis were represented as dirty, lazy, untanieable 
being.s, who would do nothing to help themselves while they would be 
kept alive upon charity. Hence was decreed that every male and female 
considered by the local Boards of Relief able to work, were not to l)e 
relieved without working for it ; and to test their real need of relief, and 
their willingness to work, they were allowed one jwuud of viea/ as meat 
and wages for ten hours labour^ with the addition of one-lialf a pound of 
meal t^) each of their families, or children who could not work, and often 
the meal wa.s so much adulterated that it was dangerous for even swine to 
eat it. Ye.s, reader, pregnant women wliose husbands were not at home, 
and aged widows, were seen at tliis work, and treated in like manner. 

I was then suggested by some known knave, that Highland proprietors 
would get 80 much of the money for improvirg tlieir estates, as they 
knew be.st who wa.s worthy of relief, and willing to work ; and these sums 
to be in proportion to thdr subscriptions; then you may easily guess 



xu 

who got the lion's share of it. From their own reports we find, that Lord 
Maedonalcl got £3,000 in return for Iiis .£1,000 subscrii>tion, what he has 
done with it is not known, and never will, (and I durst not say that he 
pouched it). His Grace of Sutherland got £6,000 in return for his £2,000 
subscription, (good return) but his Grace built a splendid hunting booth, 
in a secluded Glen, in the north-west portion of his domains, and he made 
a read to this booth from Lairg, through a solitary wilderness, a distance 
of at least thirty miles, entirely for the accommodation of his gamekeepers, 
huntsmen, and sportsmen ; any other travellers were seen only as rai-e as a 
pelican in the deserts of Arabia. But very few of the Sutherlanders 
reaped any benefit from these works, as on former occassions strangers 
were preferred. We could not expect to see this in Mrs. H. B. Stowe's 
Sunny Memories. Neither need we expect to see in her future Memories 
of the House of Sutherland, that during these distressing times a large 
quantity of meal was deposited in some of his Grace's stores and entrusted 
to some of his factors for distribution, and that that meal was concealed 
or unrighteously kept from the people for a whole twelvemonth, and used 
for feeding dogs, swine, poultry, and cattle, until it became so rotten that 
it was found dangerous to the health of these animals, then men were 
employed to hurl it out to middens and to the sea in rotten blue lumps ; 
great quantities of it were disposed of in this way, while the poor were 
chiefly feeding upon shell fish and sea weeds. This is a grave charge 
against his Grace and his wicked servants, who were, at all hazards, 
determined to destroy the people ; I have seen them living in Canada, and 
not far from me, who were employed for days at this work. Whether his 
Grace or his head commissioner, James Loch, dictated, or at least 
supplied Mrs. H. B. Stowe with all the information she required to make 
up chapter seventeenth of her Sunny Memories, (a lady whom I will 
use the liberty to address afterwards, but to whom I am not, at ])resent 
afraid to tell her if she founded the information in Uncle Tom's Cabin 
upon no better evidence than she had on this occasion, that very little 
credence can be placed in it). I say whether these personages, along 
with Lord Trevelyan and his Quarter Deck Inspector were collectively or 
seperately connected with this diabolical outrage upon justice and 
humanity, is better known to themselves; but one thing is evident, the 
crime was committed by their underlings, and let the reproach remain, 
among them as an immortal stain upon their character. Black and 
deformed as their deeds were, they were not without their precedents in 
the history of distributions in Sutherlandshire, which you will see as we 
proceed. To be brief, T believe that if a correct history of the distribu- 
tion of this munificent gift of nations, the squandering away of the money 
and its misapplications could be obtained, it would be the most disgraceful 
which ever has been recorded, and that it would be the astonishment of 
mankind, how could men professing Christianity and of good standing in 
society, be hardened so much as to commit such villany, or how could 
fchey ever afterwards have the effrontery to shew their face in society. At 
the clo.sing up of the affair the public requested the trustees and officials 
to render an account of their stewardship. Accountants were employed 



XIU 

for months examining their lx>oks. It was found out that six or seven 
thousand pounds sterling were wanted that could not be accounted for at 
all, and their accounts and disbursements so much confounded and con- 
fused that scrutiny was given up, and the infamous aflair hushed up, and 
the wholesale plunderers allowed to escape with the booty, unblushingly to 
mix with society. This is all the satisfaction the liberal contributors got, 
or ever will, excepting Highland Dukes, Lords, tkc, no doubt satisfactory 
to them, for they got for ceitainty the benefit of one hundred and thirty 
thousand pounds of it ; take along with this. Captain Elliot with his crew 
of marines and sailors, him receiving his £1 10s. per day, and his subor- 
didates receiving equal sums, according to their rank, and a host of agents 
and officials on full pay, yon may easily believe that a verysniall jwrtion 
of this extraordinary ])ublic bounty ever reached the stoBfcpJis of the 
poor for whom it was intended. Indeed it is a question with me if the 
poor realised any benefit at all from it, except those who had been trans- 
ported to Canada and other colonies with it. I know for a certainty that 
after the funds were exhausted, that the people were in a worse state than 
they were before, and that the misa)>j)lication of these funds sealed the 
public bowels of compassion against them in future. Foi- many years I 
was expostulating with the late and present Dukes of Sutherland in my 
own humble way, for their policy towards their peoj)le. In 1841 I pub- 
lished so many of my letters in the form of a pamphlet, which is here 
reprinted — some niay think that I have some particular private spleen 
against the House of Sutherland, when I lay so hea^•y at them. To 
disabuse the mind of such, permit me to say (honestly) that I have no 
such private spleen to gratify, and that I have no more animosity towards 
the House of Sutherland than I have towards all other Highland depopu- 
lators. That I was persecuted and suflered much at the hands of the 
underlings of the House of Sutherland I do not deny nor conceal. But 
it is the ten-times cursed system which desolated Caledonia, beggared and 
pauperised the people, which broke down and scattered to the four winds 
of heaven the best portion of the materials of our national bulwarks, which 
robbed the people of their righteous rights, and left them the victims of 
their avaricious spoilers and defamers. 'I his is the system to which I will 
be an avowed enemy and antagonist wliile I breathe the breath of life. 
You have now my former productions before you. 



INTRODUCTION TO MY FIRST PAMPHLET. 

Famine and destitution in the Higlilands of Scotland have become 
proverbial, and if not altogether continuous, are at least the rule, while 
any little gleams of improvement or partial alleviation form the excep- 
tion. There arc, however, there as eksewhere, a considerable number 
who suffer lew of the evils that flesh is heir to, but who thrive and fatten 
on the miseries of their victims — the jHwr natives, whom they insult, 



XIV 

oppress, and expatriate, without apparently the least compunction for 
the extreme distress they occasion. 

Every effect must have a cause, and that cause I shall only glance at 
here, as it will be sufficiently apparent in the course of my narration. 

During the Peninsular war an uncommon demand for provisions of all 
description arose, and when, on the return of peace, this temporary de- 
mand was subsiding, the landlords, being the legislators, contrived to 
keep up the extravagant war prices, by a system of prohibitions against 
all foreign produce, so as to make a permanent artificial scarcity, and 
cmsequent dearth throughout the country, that they might continue to 
pa^|et the incr^sed rents the war prices had enabled them to realise 
in a^'SeprccJitld currency. This, tlien, was the moving spring which 
led to "tflpiCS^^^'^^ conspiracy of landlords against the before undis- 
puted rights of the inhabitants, to a residence on their paternal soil 
which they had so often defended with their blood, and to a subsistence 
from its produce in return for their industry. Hence the severities 
exercised in the most reckless manner, against the aborigines of the 
Highlands in general, and those of Sutherlandshire in particular ; severi- 
ties which have almost annihilated that habitual fidelity to, and respect 
for his superiors, for which the Gael was always so remarkable, and 
which formed the leading moral trait in his character, and was identified 
Avith his very existence. These bonds have been rudely severed ; the 
immediate descendants of those serfs and retainers whose attachment 
to their chiefs was a passion, and for whom they were at any time, ready 
to lay down their lives, have been robbed, oppressed, and driven away, 
to make room for flocks and herds to supply the intense demand of the 
English market, excited by the legal prohibition of continental produce, 
and the wants of a rapidly increasing population. 

The motive of the landlords was self-interest; and in the Highlands it 
has been pursued with a recklessness and remorselessness to which the 
proverbial tyranny and selfishness of that class elsewhere furnishes no 
parallel. Law and justice, religion and humanity, have been either 
totally disregarded, or what was still worse, converted into instruments of 
opjiression. 

The expulsion of the natives and the substitution of strange adven- 
turers — sheep farmers, generally from England and from the English 
border — being, as it were, simultaneously agreed upon by the Highland 
proprietors, instruments were readily found to carry their plans into 
eflfect, who soon became so zealous in the service — not, however, forget- 
ting to profit by the plunder in the meantime — that they carried their 
atrocities to a height which would have appalled their employers them- 
selves, had they been witnesses of them. Every imaginable means, short 
of the sword or the musket, was put into requisition to drive the natives 
away, or to force them to exchange their farms and comfortable habita- 
tions, erected by themselves or their forefathers, for inhospitable rocks on 
the sea shore, and to depend for subsistence on the produce of the watery 
element in its wildest mood, and with whose perils they, in their hitherto 
pastoral life, were totally unacquainted and unfitted to contend. 



XV 

This state of things, whicli I have reason to know, has prevailed more 
or less in all the Highland districts for more than 20 years, has carried to 
the greatest height in Sutherland. That unfortunate country was made 
another Moscow. The inhabitants were literally burnt out, and every 
contrivance of ingenious and unrelenting cruelty was eagerly adopted for 
extirpating the race. Many lives were sacrificed by famine and other 
hardships and privations ; hundreds stripped of their all, emigrated to 
the Canadas and other parts of America; great numbers especially of 
the young and athletic, sought employment m the Lowlands and in 
England, where, few of them being skilled workmen, they were obliged — 
even farmers who had lived in comparative affluence in their own counti*y— 
to compete with common labourers as hewers of wood arjl drawers of 
water, in communities where their language and simple mai^Bj^pr^ndered 
them objects of derision and ridicule. The aged and infirnv^he widows 
and orphans, with those who could not think of leaving them alone in 
their helplessness ; and a number whose attachment to the soil which 
contained the ashes of their ancestors, and the temples where they had 
worshipped, in hopes of some change for the better, were induced to 
accept of the wretched allotments offered them on wild moors and barren 
rocks. These and their offspring remain in the country and form the poor , 
whose constant destitution and periodical famine is beginning to exercise 
more attention, than is agreeable to those who have been the cause of their 
miseries, lest many dark and infamous deeds should, by an authorised 
enquiry be revealed in open day. Hence the violent opposition to a Gov- 
ernment enquiry conducted by impartial persons. The lairds have no 
objection to an enquiry to be conducted by themselves and the resident 
clergy, knowing that in that case, they would be quite safe, and the report 
would of course lay all the blame on the inveterate sloth, and vicious 
habits they have unceasingly laboured to assign els the causes of Highland 
destitution. Such a course of dark and inhumam policy as that so long 
going on in the Highlands, could not have existed if the public had been 
properly aware of it, but among a simple illiterate people, speaking a pro- 
vincial dialect, it was easy for landlords, clergy, factors, and new tenants 
combined, who constituted the local administrators of both the law and 
gospel — men possessed of wealth, influence, talents and education — it was 
easy for them to effect their purposes, and stiffle till enquiry, while the mild 
nature, and religious training of the poor Highlanders, prevented their 
resorting to that detennined resistance and wild revenge which sometimes 
sets bounds to the i*apacity of landlords and clergy in the sister island. 
The Highlanders had not language to make his wrongs known through 
the press, nor did he resort to the ruthless deed ; hence he has been 
opj)ressed with impunity, while his persecutors hold up their head.s as 
honourable gentlemen, and goodly ministers ! I am truly sorry that truth 
has obliged me to represent the character of these latter gentlemen in such 
an unfavourable light, but I am convinced that had they done their duty, 
in denouncing the wrongs perpetrated before their eyes, instead of becom- 
ing auxiliaries, the other parties would in most cases, have been unable to 
proceed. The oppressors always ai)peale<l to them for sanction and justi- 



XVI 

fication and were not disappointed. The foulest deeds were glossed over, 
and all the evil which could not be attributed to the natives themselves, 
such as severe seasons, famine, and consequent disease, was by these i)ious 
gentlemen ascribed to Providence, as a jmnishnient for sin — the other 
parties who were enriching themselves, of course never sinned, for they 
were rolling in wealth and luxury at the expense of the poor sinners 1 
Such was the holy teaching of these learned clerks. They had always the 
ear and confidence of the proprietors, and I put it to their consciences to 
say how often, if ever, they exerted that influence in favor of the oppressed, 
To the tribunal of that Master whose servants they pretend to be I cite 
them, where hypocrisy and glaring perversions will not avail ! At this 
same tribunal also I might arraign those unjust men who perverted the 
judgment s^t, and made what should have been a protection, an instru- 
ment of oppression. But at present I muse beg the reader's attention to 
the following narrative, in which I have endeavored, by a recital of uncom- 
tradicted and undeniable facts, to bring these parties to the bar of public 
opinion. Hitherto, during all the time that has passed in the publication 
of these letters, no attempt has been made to deny the facts I have alleged, 
though I have repeatedly challenged such contradiction. 

Instead of my narrative exceeding truth, it has in realityfallen far short 
of it ; for no language that I am able to use, can convey an adequate idea 
of the wrongs and sufi'erings of my unfortunate countrymen. While T 
feel myself called on by a sense of duty to bring these wrongs and suffer- 
ings before the public, I regret that the subject has not fallen into abler 
hands; but, silence in the face of such a mass of cruelty and iniquity 
would be enough to make the very stones cry out ! Having by the kind 
ness of the Editor of the Edinhurgh Weekiy Chronicle been furnished 
with a vehicle, and assisted by other kind friends and correspondents, 
these letters have already met the public eye in the columns of that 
excellent paper, to the Editors and Proprietors of which I and my 
countrymen are so much indebted. I am now induced to comply with 
the urgent request of great numbers of my countrymen and others, to 
re-puplish the letters in the form of a pamphlet. I have engaged in this 
undertaking in the full confidence of the kind support of my countrymen 
and fellow- suflferers and their descendants, in whatever place or country, 
here or across the Atlantic, divine Providence may have fixed their 
destiny, in the fervent \\o\)Q that He — 

*' Who sees with equal eyes, as Lord of all, 
The hero perish and the sparrow fall, " 

will so overrule events as to bring ultimate good out of the severe trials 
which He hath permitted to overtake my dear country, and that — 

" Though harsh and bitter is the root, 
Yet sweet will be the flower ! ' 



DESTITaTION IX SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 



LETTER I. 

{To the Editor of the Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle.) 

Sir : — I am a native of Sutherlandshire, and remember when the 
inhabitants of that country lived comfortably and happily, when the man- 
sions of proprietors and the abodes of factors, magistrates, and ministers, 
were the seats of honor, truth, and good example — when people of quality 
were indeed what they were styled, the friends and benefactors of all who 
lived upon their domains. But all this is changed. Alas, alas! I liave 
lived to see calamity upon calamity overtake the Sutherlandei's. For five 
successive years on or about the term day, has scarcely anything been 
seen but removing the inhabitants in the most cruel and unfeeling man- 
ner, and burning the houses which they and their forefathers had occupied 
from time immemorial. The country was darkened by the smoke of the 
burnings, and the descendants of those who drew their swords at Bannock- 
burn, Sherifi*muir, and Killicrankie — the children and nearest relations of 
those who sustained the honor of the British name in many a bloody field — 
the heroes of Egypt, Corunna, Toulouse, Salamanca, and Waterloo — were 
ruined, trampled upon, dispersed, and compelled to seek an asylum across 
the Atlantic; while those who remained from inability to emigrate, de- 
piived of all the comforts of life, became paupers — beggars — a disgrace to 
the nation whose freedom and honour many of them had maintained by 
their valour and cemented with their blood. 

To those causes the destitution and misery that exists in Sutherland- 
shire are to be ascribed; misery as great, if not the greatest to be found 
in any part of the Highlands, and that not the fruit of indolence or im- 
providence, as some would allege, but the inevitable result of the avarice 
and tyranny of the landlords and factors for the last thirty or forty years; 
of treatment, I persume to say, without a parallel in the history of this 
nation. 1 know that a great deal has been done to mitigate the sulierings 
of the Highlanders some years back, both by Government aid and public 
subscriptions, but the unhappy country of Sutherland was excluded from 
the benefits derived from these sources, by means of false statements and 
public speeches, made by hired agents, or by those whose interest it was 
to conceal the misery and destitution in the country of which themselves 
were the authors. Thus the Sutherlandshire sufferers liave been sliut out 
from receiving the assistance afforded by Government or by private in 
dividuals ; and owing to the thraldom and subjugation in which this once 
brave and happy people are to factors, magisti*ates, and ministers, they 
durst scarce whimper a complaint, much less say plainly, " Thus and tlius 
have you done." 



On the 20th of last April, a meeting of noblemen and gentlemen, con- 
nected ^vith different districts of Scotland, was held in the British Hotel, 
Edinburgh, for the ])urpose of making inquiry into the misery and des- 
titution prevailing in Scotland, and particularly in the Highlands, with a 
view to discover the causes and discuss means for meeting the prevailing 
evil. Gentlemen were appointed to make the necessary inquiry, and a 
committee named, with which these gentlemen were to communicate. At 
this meeting a Sutherlandshire proprietor made such representations re- 
garding the inhabitants of that county, that, relying, I suppose, on his 
mere assertions, the proposed enquiry has never been carried into that 
district. Under these circumstances, I, who have been largely a sufferer, 
and a spectator of the sufferings of multitudes of my countrymen, would 
have felt myself deeply culpable if I kept silence, and did not take means 
to lay before the committee and the public the information of which I am 
possessed, to put the benevolent on their guard respecting the men who 
undertake to pervert, if they cannot stifle, the inquiry as to the causes and 
extent of distress in the shire of Sutherland. With a view to discharging 
this encumbent duty, I published a few remarks, signed 'A Highlander,' 
in the Edinhurgh Weekly Journal of 29th May last, on the aforesaid 
proprietor's speech; to which he made a reply, accusing me of singular 
ignorance and misrepresentation, and endeavouring to exonerate himself. 
Another letter has since appeared in the same paper, signed, "A Suther- 
landshire Tenant," denying my assertions and challenging me to prove 
them by stating facts. To meet this challenge, and to let these parties 
know that I am not so ignorant as they represent; and also to afford 
information to the before-mentioned committee, it being impossible for 
those gentlemen to apply an adequate remedy till they know the real 
cause and nature of the disease, I addressed a second letter to the editor 
of the Weekly Journal', but, to my astonishment, it was refused inser- 
tion ; through what influence I am not prepared to say. I have, in con- 
sequence, been subjected to much reflection and obloquy for deserting a 
cause which would be so much benefitted by public discussion ; and for 
failing to substantiate charges so publicly made. I have, therefore, now to 
request, that, through the medium of your valuable and impartial paper, 
the public may be made acquainted with the real state of the case ; and I 
pledge myself not only to meet the two opponents mentioned, but to pro- 
duce and substantiate such a series of appalling facts, as will sufficiently 
account for the distress j^revailing in Sutherlandshire; and, I trust have 
a tendancy towards its mitigation. 



LETTER II. 

Sir, — Previous to redeeming my pledge to bring before the Public a 
series of facts relating to the more recent oppressions and expatriation of 
the unfortunate inhabitants of Sutherlandshire, it is necessary to take a 
brief retrospective glance at the original causes. 



3 

Down from the feudal times, the inhabitants of the hills and straths of 
Sutherlandshire, in a state of transition from vassalage to tenancy, looked 
upon the fj^nns they occupied from their ancestors as their own, though 
subject to the arrangements as to rent, duties and services imposed by 
the cliief in possession, to whom, though his own title might be equivocal, 
they habitually looked u]) with a degree of clannish veneration. Every 
thing was done " to please the Laird." In this kind of patriarchal 
dominion on the one side, and obedience and confidence on the other, did 
the late tenantry and their progenitors experience much happiness, and a 
degree of congenial comfort and simple pastoral enjoyment. But the late 
war and its consequences interfered with this happy state of things, and 
hence a foundation was laid for all the suffering and depopulation which 
has followed. This has not been peculiar to Sutherlandshire; the general 
plan of almost all the Highland proprietors of that period being to get rid 
of the original inhabitants, and turn the land into sheep farms, though 
from ixtculiar circumstances this plan was there carried into effect with 
more revolting and wholesale severity than in any of the surrounding 
counties. 

The first attempt at this general clearing was partially made in Koss- 
shire, about the beginning of the present century ; but from the resistance 
of the tenantry and other causes, has never been carried into general 
operation. The same was more or less the case in other counties. 
Effects do not occur without cause, nor do men become tyrants and 
monsters of cruelty all at once. Self-interest, real or imaginary, first 
j>rompts; the moral boundary is overstepped, the oppressed offer either 
j.assive or active resistance, and, in the arrogance of power, the strong 
resort to such means as will effect their purpose, reckless of conse- 
quences, and enforcing what they call the rights of property, utterly 
neglect its duties. I do not pretend to represent the late Ducliess or 
Duke of Sutherlandshire in particular, as destitute of the common attri- 
butes of humanity, however atrocious may have been the acts perpetrated 
in their name, or by their authority. They were generally absentees, and 
while they gave-in to the general clearing scheme, I have no doubt they 
wished it to be carried into effect with as little hardship as possible. But 
their prompters and underlings pursued a more reckless course, and, 
intent only on their own selfish ends, deceived these high personages, 
representing the people as slothful and rebellious, while, as they pre- 
tended, every.thing necessary was done for their accomodation. 

I have mentioned above, that the late war and its consequences laid the 
foundation of the evils complained of. Great Britian with her immense 
naval and military establishments, being in a great measure shut out from 
foreign supplies, and in a state of hostility or non-intercourse with all 
Europe and Noilh America, almost all the necessaries of life had to be 
drawn from our own soil. Hence, its whole jx^wers of production were 
required to supply the immense and daily increasing demand ; and while 
the agricultural portions of tlio country were strained to yield an increase 
of grain, the more northern and mountainous districts vrere looked to for 
additional supplies of animal food. Hence, also, all the speculations to 



get rid of the human inhabitants of the Higlilands, and replace tlieiu with 
cattle and sheep for the English market. At tlie conclusion of the war, 
these eftects were about to cease with their cause, but the corn laws, and 
other food taxes, then interfered, and by excluding foreign animal food 
altogether, and grain till it was at a famine price, caused the increasing 
population to press against home produce, so as still to make it the in- 
terest of the Highland lairds to prefer cattle to human beings, and to 
encourage speculators with capital, from England and the south of Scot- 
land, to take the lands over the heads of the original tenantry. Thus 
Highland wrongs were continued, and annually augmented, till the mass 
of guilt on the one hand, and of suffering on the other, became so great 
as almost to exceed description of belief. Hence the difficulty of bringing 
it fully before the public, especially as those interested in suppressing 
inquiry are numerous, powerful, and unsparing in the use of every in- 
fluence to stop the mouths of the sufferers. Almost all the new tenants 
in Sutherlandshire have been made justices of the peace, or otherwise 
armed with authority, and can thus, under colour of law, commit violence 
and oppression wdienever they find it convenient — the poor people having 
no redress, and scarce daring even to complain. The clergy, also, whose 
duty it is to denounce the oppressor, and aid the oppressed, have all, the 
whole seventeen parish ministers in Sutherlandshire, with one exception, 
found their account in abetting the wrongdoers, exhorting the people to 
quiet submission, helping to stifle their cries, telling them that all their 
sufferings came from the hand of God, and was a just punishment for 
their sins ! In what manner those reverend gentlemen were benefitted by 
the change, and bribed thus to desert the cause of the people, I shall 
explain as I proceed. 

The whole country, with the exception of a comparatively small part of 
one parish, held by Mr Dempster of Skibo, and similar portions cm the out- 
skirts of the county held by two or three other proprietors, is now in the 
hands of the Sutherland family, who, very raiely, perhaps only once in 
four or five years, visit their Highland estates. Hence the impunity 
afforded to the actors in the scenes of devastation and cruelty — the 
wholesale expulsion of the people, and pulling down and burning their 
habitations, which latter proceeding was peculiar to Sutherlandshire. In 
my subsequent communications I shall produce a selection of such facts and 
incidents as can be supported by sufficient testimony, to many of which I 
was an eye-witness, or was otherwise cognizant of them. I have been, 
with my family, for many years, removed, and at a distance from those 
scenes, and have no personal malice to gratify, my only motive being a 
desire to vindicate my ill used countrymen from the aspersions cast upon 
them, to draw public attention to their wrongs, and if possible to bring 
about a fair inquiry, to be conducted by disinterested gentlemen, as to the 
real cause of their long-protracted misery and destitution, in order, that 
the public sympathies may be awakened in their behalf, and something 
effected for their relief. With these observations I now conclude, and in 
my next letter I vvill enter upon my narration of a few of such facts as 
can be fully authenticated by living testimony. 



LETTER III. 

Sir, — In my last letter, I endeavoured to trace the causes that led to 
the general clearing and consequent distress in Sutherlandshire, which 
dates its commencement from the year 1807. Previous to that period, 
partial removals had taken place, on the estates of Lord Reay, Mr. Honey- 
man of Armidale, and others: but these removals were under ordinary and 
comi»aritively favouml^le circumstances. Those who were ejected from 
their farms, were accommodated with smaller portions of land, and those 
who chose to emigrate had means in their power to do so, by the sale of 
their cattle, which then fetched an extraordinary high price. But in the 
year above mentioned, the system commenced on the Duchess of Suther- 
land's proi)erty ; about 90 families were removed from the parishes of Farr 
and Larg. These people were, however, in some degree provided for, by 
giving them smaller lots of land, but many of these lots were at a distance 
of from 10 to 17 miles, so that the people had to remove their cattle and 
furniture thither, leaving their crops on the ground behind. Watching 
this crop from trespass of the cattle of the incoming tenants, and removing 
it in the autumn, was attended with great difficulty and loss. Besides, 
there was also much personal suffering, from their having to pull down 
their houses and carry away the timber of them, to erect houses on their 
new possessions, which houses they had to inhabit immediately on being 
covered in, and in the meantime, to live and sleep in the open air, except 
a few, who might be fortunate enough to get an unoccupied barn, or shed, 
from some of their charitable new come neighbours. 

The effects of these circumstances on the health of the aged and infirm, 
and on the women and children, may be readily conceived — some lost 
their lives, and others contracted diseases that stuck to them for life. 

During the year 1809, in the parishes of Dornoch, Rogart, Loth, Clyne, 
and Golspie, an extensive removal took place ; several hundred families 
were turned out, but under circumstances of greater severity than the 
preceding. Every means were resorted to, to discourage the people, and 
to persuade them to give up their holdings quietly, and quit the country ; 
and to those who could not bo induced to do so, scraps of moor, and bog 
lands were oliered in Dornoch moor, and Brora links, on which it was 
next to inipossible to exist, in order that they may be scared into going 
entirely away. At this time, the estate was under the management of 
Mr. Young, a corn-dealer, as chief, and Mr. Patrick Sellar, a writer, as 
Tinder-factor, the later of whom will make a conspicuous figure in my 
future communications. These gentlemen were both from Morayshire; 
and, in order to favour their own country people, and get rid of the 
natives, the former were constantly employed in all the injprovemonts 
and public works under their direction, while the latter were tjiken at 
inferior wages, and only when strangers could not be had. 

Thus, a large portion of the people of these five parishes were, in the 
course of two or three veal's, almost entirely rooted out, and those few 
who took the miserable Hllotments above mentioned, and some of their 
descendants, continue to exist on them in great poverty. Among these 



G 

were the widows and orphans of those heads of families who had been 
drowned in the same year, in going to attend a fair, when upwards of 
one lumdred individuals lost their lives, while crossing the ferry between 
Sutherland and Tain. These destitute creatures were obliged to accept of 
any spot which afforded them a residence, from inability to go elsewhere. 

From this time till 1812 the process of eijection was carried on annually, 
in a greater or less degree, and during this period the estates of Gordon- 
bush and Uppet were added, by purchase, to the ducal property, and in 
the subsequent years, till 1829, the whole of the country, with the small 
exceptions before mentioned, had passed into the hands of the great family. 

In the year 1811 a new era of depopulation commenced ; summonses 
of removal were served on large portions of the inhabitants. The lands 
were divided into extensive lots, and advertised to be let as sheep farms. 

Strangers were seen daily traversing the country, viewing these lots, 
previous to bidding for them. They appeared to be in great fear of rough 
treatment from the inhabitants they were about to supersede; but the 
event proved they had no cause ; they were uniformly treated with 
civility, and even hospitality, thus affording no excuse for the measures 
of severity to which the factors and their adherents afterwards had re- 
course. However, the pretext desired was soon found in an apparently 
concerted plan. A person from the south, of the name of Reid, a manager 
on one of the sheep farms, raised an alarm that he had been pursued by 
some of the natives of Kildonan, and jDut in bodily fear. The factors 
eagerly jumped at this trumped-up story; they immediately swore in from 
sixty to one hundred retainers, and the new inhabitants, as special con- 
stal)les, trimmed and charged the cannon at Dunrobin Castle, which had 
reposed in silence since the last defeat of the unfortunate Stuarts. 
Messengers were then dispatched, warning the people to attend at the 
castle at a certain hour, under the pretence of making amicable arrange- 
ments. Accordingly, large numbers prepared to obey the summons, 
ignorant of their enemies' intentions, till, when about six miles from the 
castle, a large body of them got a hint of their danger from some one in 
the secret, on which they called a halt and held a consultation, when it 
was resolved to pass on to the Inn at Golspie, and there await the ren- 
contre with the factors. The latter were much disappointed at this 
derangementof theirplans; but on their arrival with the sheriff, constables, 
&c., they told the peojjle, to their astonishment, that a number of them 
were to be apprehended, and sent to Dornoch Jail, on suspicion of an 
attempt to take Mr. Reid's life ! The people, with one voice, declared 
their innocence, and that they would not suffer any of their number to be 
imprisoned on such a pretence. Without further provocation, the sheriff 
proceeded to read the riot act, a thing quite new and unintelligible to the 
poor Sutherlanders so long accustomed to bear their wrongs patiently ; 
however, they immediately dispersed and returned to their homes in peace. 
The factors, having now found the pretext desired, mounted their horses 
and galloped to the castle in pretended alarm, sought protection under the 
guns of their fortress, and sent an express to Fort George for a military 
force to suppress the rebellion in Sutherlandshire ! The 21st Regiment 



of foot (Irish) was accordingly ordered to proceed by forced inarches, night 
and day, a distance of fifty miles, with artillery, and cart-loads of am- 
munition. On their arrival, some of them were heard to declare they 
would now have revenge on the Sutherlanders for the carnage of their 
countrymen at Tai*a-hill and Ballynamuck; but they were disappointed, 
for they found no rebels to cope with ; so that, after having made a few 
prisoners, who were all liberated on a precognition being taken, they 
were ordered away to their barracks. The people meantime, dismayed 
and spirit-broken at the array of power brought against them, and seeing 
nothing but enemies on every side, even in those from whom they should 
have had comfort and succour, quietly submitted to their fate. The 
clergy, too, were continually preaching submission declaring these 
proceedings were foreordained of God, and denouncing the vengeance 
of Heaven and eternal damnation on those who should presume to make 
the leii.st resistance. No wonder the poor Highlanders quailed under 
such influences; and the result was, that large districts of the parishes 
before mentioned were dispossessed at the May term, 1812. 

The Earl of Selkirk hearing of these proceedings, came personally into 
Sutherlandshire, and by fair promises of encouragement, and other allure- 
ments, induced a number of the distressed outcast to enter into an arrange- 
ment with him, to emigrate to his estates on the Red River, North 
America. Accordingly, a whole shipf ul of them went thither; but on their 
arrival, after a tedious and disastrous passage, they found theuiselves 
deceived and deserted by his lordship, and left to their fate in an incle- 
ment wilderness, without protection against the savages, who plundered 
them on their arrival, and, finally massacred them all, with the exception 
of a few who escaped with their lives, and travelled across trackless wilds 
till they at last arrived in Canada. 

This is a brief recital of the proceedings up to 1813; and these were 
the only acts of riot and resistance that ever took place in Sutherlandshire. 



LETTER IV. 

In the month of March, 1814, a groat number of the inhabitants of the 
parishes of Farr and Kildonan were summoned to give up their farms at 
the May term following, and, in order to ensure and hasten their removal 
with their cattle, in a few days after, the greatest part of the heath i)asture 
was set fire to and burnt, l)y order of Mr. Sellar, the factor, who had taken 
these lands for himself. It is necessary to e.xpluin the effects of this i)ro- 
ceeding. In the sprinjsf, especially when fodder is scarce, as was the case 
in the above year, the Highland cattle depend almost solely on the heather. 
As soon, too, as the grass begins to sprout about the roots of the bushes, 
the animals get a good bite, and are thiis kept in tolerable condition. De- 
prived of this resource by the burning, the cattle were generally left 
without food, and this being the period of temporary peace, during 
Buonaparte's residence in Elba, there was little demand for good cattle, 



8 

much less for these poor starving animals, who roamed about over their 
burnt pasture till a great many of them were lost, or sold for a mere trifle. 
The arable parts of the land were cropped by the outgoing tenants, as is 
customary, but the fences being mostly destroyed by the burning, the cattle 
of the incoming tenant was continually trespassing throughout the summer 
and harvest, and those who remained to look after the crop had no shelter; 
even watching being disallowed, and the people were haunted by the new 
herdsmen and and their dogs from watching their own corn ! As the spring 
had been severe, so the harvest was wet, cold, and disastrous for the poor 
l)eople, who under every difficulty, were endeavouring to secure the 
residue of their crops. The barns, kilns, and mills, except a few neces- 
sary to the new tenant, had, as well as the houses, been burnt or otherwise 
destroyed and no shelter left, except on the other side of the river, now 
overflowing its banks from the continual rains; so that, after all their 
labour and privations, the people lost nearly the whole of their crop, as 
they had already lost their cattle, and were thus entirely ruined. 

But I must go back now to the May term and attempt to give some 
account of the ejection of the inhalntants ; for to give anything like an 
adequate description I am not capable. If I were, the horrors of it 
would exceed belief. 

The houses had been all built, not by the landlord as in the low country, 
but by the tenants or by their ancestors, and, consequently, were their pro- 
perty by right, if not by law. They were timbered chiefly with bog fir, 
which makes excellent roofing but is very inflammable : by immemorial 
usage this species of timber was considered the property of the tenant on 
whose lands it was found. To the upland timber, for which the laird or 
the factor had to be asked, the laird might lay some claim, but not so to 
the other sort, and in every house there was generally a part of both. 

In former removals the tenants had been allowed to carry away this 
timber to erect houses in their new allotments, but now a more sunnnary 
mode was adopted, by setting fire to the houses ! The able-bodied m«n 
were by this time away after their cattle or otherwise engaged at a dis- 
tance, so that the immediate sufl'erers by the general house-burning that 
now commenced were the aged and infirm, and the women and children. 
As the lands were now in the hands of the factor himself, and were to be 
occupied as sheep-farms, and as the people made no resistance, they ex- 
pected at least some indulgence, in the way of permission to occupy their 
houses and other buildings till they could gradually remove and meanwhile 
look after their growing crops. Their consternation, was, therefore, the 
greater when, immediately after the May term day, and about two months 
after they had received summonses of removal, a commencement was made 
to pull down and set fire to the houses over their heads! The old ])eo[)le 
women, and others, then began to try to preserve the timber which they 
were entitled to consider as their own. But the devastators proceeded 
with the greatest celerity, demolishing all before them, and when they 
had overthrown the houses in a large tract of country, they ultimately set 
fire to the wreck. So that timber, furniture, and every other article that 



9 

could not be instantly removed, was consumed by fire, or otherwise 
utterly destroyed. 

These proceedings were carried on with the greatest rapidity as well as 
with most reckless cruelty. The cries of the victims, the confusion, the 
despair and horror painted on the countenances of the one party, and the 
exultin^:; ferocity of the other, beggar all description. In these scenes 
Mr. Sellar was present, and t^pparently, (as was sworn by several witnesses 
at his subsequent trial,) ordering and directing the whole. Many deaths 
ensued from alarm, from fatigue, and cold; the people l)eing instantly 
deprived of shelter, and left to the mercy of the elements. Some old men 
took to the woods and precipices, wandering about in a state approach- 
ing to, or of absolute insanity, and several of them, in this situation, lived 
only a few days. Pregnant women were taken with premature labour, 
and several children did not long survive their sufferings. To these 
scenes I was an eye-witness, and am ready to substantiate the truth of 
my statements, not only by my own testimony, but by that of many 
others who were present at the time. 

In such a scene of general devastation it is almost useless to particularize 
the cases of individuals — the suffering was great and universal. I shall, 
however, just notice a very few of the extreme cases which occur to my 
recollection, to most of which I was an eye witness. John MKay's wife, 
Ravigill, in attempting to pull down her house, in the absence of her 
husband, to preserve the timber, fell through the roof. She was in con- 
sequence, taken with premature labour, and in that state, was exposed to 
the open air and the view of the by-standers. Donald Munro, Garvott, 
lying in a fever, was turned out of his house and exposed to the elements. 
Donald Macbeath, an infirm and bed-ridden old man, had the house unroof- 
ed over him, and was, in that state, exposed to wind and rain till death put 
a period to his sufferings. I was present at the pulling down and burning 
of the house of William Chisholm. Badinloskin, in which was lying his 
wife's mother, an old bed-ridden Moman of near 100 years of age, none of 
the family being present. I informed the persons about to set fire to the 
hou.se of this circumstance, and prevailed on them to wait till Mr. Sellar 
came. On his airival I told him of the poor old woman being in a con- 
dition unfit for removal. He replied, ** Damn her, the old witch, she has 
lived too long; let her bum." Fire was immediately set to the house, and 
the blankets in which she was carried were in flames before she could be 
got out. She was placed in a little shed, and it was with great difiieulty 
they were prevented from firing it also. The old woman's daughter 
arrived while the house was on fire, and assisted the neighbours in remov- 
ing her mother out of the flames and smoke, presenting a picture of 
liorror which I shall never forget, but cannot attempt to describe. She 
died within five days. 

I could multiply instances to a great extent, but must leave to the 
reader to conceive the state of the inhabitants during this scene of general 
devastation, to which few parallels occur in the history of this or any other 
civilized country. Many a life was lost or shortened, and many a strong 
constitution ruined ; — the comfort and social happiness of all destroj;ptl ; 



10 

and their prospects in life, then of the most dismal kind, have, generally 
speaking, been unhappily realized. 

Mr. Sellar was, in the year 1816, tried on on indictment for a part of 
these proceedings, before the circuit court of Justiciary at Inverness. 



LETTER Y. 

At the spring assizes of Inverness, in 1816, Mr. Seller was brought to 
trial, before Lord Pitmilly, for his proceedings, as partly detailed in my 
last letter. The indictment, charging him with culpable homicide, fire- 
raising, tkc, was prosecuted by his Majesty's advocate. In the report of 
the trial, published by Mr. Sellar's counsel, it is said "To this measure 
his lordship seems to have been induced, chiefly for the purpose of satis- 
fying the public mind and putting an end to the clamours of the country." 
If this, and not the ends of justice, was the intention, it was completely 
successful, for the gentleman w^as acquitted, to the astonishment of the 
natives and of all who understood anything of the true state of the case, 
and the oppressors were thereby emboldened to proceed in their subsequent 
operations with a higher hand, and with perfect impunity, as will be seen 
in the sequel. 

It is a difficult and hazardous attempt to inpugn proceedings carried on 
by his Majesty's advocate, presided over by an honourable judge, and 
decided by a jury of respectable men; but I may mention a few circum- 
stances which might have a tendency to disappoint the people. Out of 
forty witnesses examined at a precognition before the sheriff, there were 
only eleven, and those not the most competent, brought forward for the 
crown; and the rest, some of whom might have supported material parts 
of the indictment — as, for instance, in the case of Donald Monro — were 
nevercalledatall. Besides, the witnesses for the prosecution, being sim])le, 
illiterate persons, gave their testimony in Gaelic, which was interpreted to 
the court; and, it is well-known, much depends upon the translator, 
whether evidence so taken, retains its weight and strengtli or not. The 
jury, with very few exceptions, was composed of persons just similarly 
circumstanced with the neio tenants in Sutherlandshire, and consequently, 
might very naturally have a leaning to that side, and all the exculpatory 
witnesses were those who had been art and part, or otherwise interested, 
in the outrageous proceedings. Mr. Sellar was a man of talent, an expert 
lawyer, and a justice of the peace, invested with full powers, as factor and 
law agent to a great absentee proprietor, and strongly supported by the 
clergy and gentry in the neighbourhood: he was also the incoming tennnt 
to the lands which were the scene of his proceedings — too great odds 
against a few poor simple Highlanders, who had only their wrongs to 
plead, whose minds were comparatively uncultivated, and whose pecuniary 
means were small. 

The immediate cause which led to these legal proceedings was, that 
several petitions from the expelled tenants had been sent to the noble pro- 



11 

prietors, representing the illegal and cruel treatment they had received ; 
and, in consequence of the answers received expressing a wish that justice 
might be done, the case was laid before the sheriff-depute, Mr. Cranstoun, 
who sent an express injunction to Mr. Robert M'Kid, sheriff-substitute 
for the county, to take a precognition of the case, and if there appeared 
suffcient cause, to take Mr. Seller into custody. The sheriff-substitute 
was a man of acknowledged probity, but from the representations he had 
previously received, was considered unfavourable to the cause of the 
people. On examining the witnesses, however, a case of such enormity 
was made out as induced him to use some strong expressions contained in 
a letter to Lord Stafford, which I here subjoin, and which, with some false 
allegations, were urged against him on the trial, so that, under the direc- 
tion of the court, the advocate-depute passed from his evidence on the 
grounds of malice and unduly expressed opinion, and thus Mr. M'Kid's 
important testimony was lost. On the whole, this case furnishes an in- 
stance of successful chicanery, undue influence, and the " glorious uncer- 
tainty of Law.'* 

TO LORD STAFFORD. 

KiRKTOWN P. GOLSPIE, 30th May; 1815. 

My Lord, — I conceive it a duty I owe to your Lordship, to address you upon the 
present occasion, and a more distx-essiug task I have seldom had to perform. 

Your Lordbhip knows, that in summer last, an humble petition, subscribed by a 
number of tenants on Mr. Sellar's sheep farm in Farr and Kildonan, was presented 
to Lady J>tafl[ord, complaining of various acts of injury, cruelty and oppression, 
alledged to have been committed upon their persons and property, by Mr. Sellar, 
in the spring and summer of that year. 

To this complaint, her Ladyship, upon the 22nd of July last, was graciously 
pleased to return an answer in writing. In it, her Ladysliip, with her usual can- 
dour and justice, m ith much propriety observes, " That if any person on the estate 
Bhall receive any illegal treatment, she will never consider it as hostile to her if 
they have recourfcc to legal redress, as a most secure way to receive the justice 
which phe always desires they should have on every occasion." Her Ladyship also 
intimates, "That she had communicated the complaint to Mr. Sellar, that he may 
make proper inquiry and answer to her." 

It would appear, however, that Mr. Sellar still refused, or delayed, to afford that 
redress to the removed tenants to which they conceived themselves entitled, w hich 
emboldened thtm to approach Earl Gower with a complaint, similar to the one they 
had presented to Lady StatiVird. 

To this complaint his Lordship graciously condescended, under date 8th Feb- 
ruary last, to return such an answer as might have been expected from his Lord- 
ship. His Lordship i^ayB that he has communicated the contents to your Lordship 
ann I ndy Stafford, who as his Lordship nobly expresses himself, " Are desirous, 
tli.i ' iits should know, that it is always their wish that justice should be 

ill iniinisttred." His Lordhhij) then adds, that he has sent the petition, 

\\ . hs to Mr. Young, that proper steps should Ve taken for laying the 

1.1 1 »! the sherilfdepute ; and that the petitioners wouhl therefore be 

a.v.v: . Air. Young, if they desired it, in having the precognition taken before 

the »hcriti-tiepute, according to their petition. 

Soon after receipt of Earl Gower's letter, it would appear that a copv of the peti- 
tion, with his Lordship's anbwer, had been transmitted to the sherifl-depute by the 
tenants. Mr. CnmstouD, in answer, upon 3()th March last, says, "that if the 
tenants mean to take a precognition immediately, it will proceed before the shcrifl- 
Bubstitutr, as my engagement will not permit me to be in iSutherland until the 
month of July." 



12 

In consequence of these proceedings, on an express injunction from his Majesty's 
advocate-depute, and a similar one from the sheriff-depute, I was compelled to 
enter upon an investigation of the complaints. 

With this view I was induced to go into Strathnaver, where, at considerable per- 
sonal inconvenience and expense, and with much patient perseverance, I examined 
about forty evidences upon the allegations stated in the tenants' petition; and it is 
with the deepest regret I have to inform your Lordship, that a more numerous cata- 
logue of crimes, perpetrated by an individual, has seldom disgraced any country, 
or sullied the pages of a precognition in Scotland. 

This being the case, the laws of the country imperiously call upon me to order 
Mr. Sellar to be arrested and incarcerated, in order for trial, and before this 
reaches your Lordship this preparatory legal step must be put in execution. 

No person can more sincerely regret the cause, nor more feelingly lament the 
effect, than I do ; but your Lordship knows well, and as Earl Gower very properly 
observed, " Justice should be impartially administered." 

I have, in confidence, stated verbally to Mr. Young my fears upon this distress- 
ing subject, and I now take the liberty of stating my sentiments also to your Lord- 
ship, in confidence. 

The crimes of which Mr. Sellar stands accused are, — 

1. Wilful fire-raising ; by having set on fire, and reduced to ashes, a poor man's 
whole premises, including dwelling-house, barn, kiln, and sheep-cot, attended with 
most aggravated circumstances of cruelty, if not murder. 

2. Throwing down and demolishing a mill, also a capital crime. 

3. Setting fire to and burning the tenants' heath pasture, before the legal term 
of removal. 

4. Throwing down and demolishing houses, whereby the lives of sundry aged 
and bed-ridden persons were endangered, if nob actually lost. 

5. Throwing down and demolishing barns, kilns, sheep cots, &c., to the great 
hurt and prejudice of the ow^ners. 

6. Innumerable other charges of lesser importance swell the list. 

I subjoin a copy of Mr. Craustoun's letter to me upon this subject, for your Lord- 
ship's information, and have the honour to be, &c. 

(Signed) ROBT. M'KID. 

Here, then, I must part with Messrs. Young and Sellar as agents for 
the noble family of Sutherland, for about this time they ceased to act as 
such. I shall in my next, proceed to describe the davasting removals 
of 1819 and '20 — those wliich happened in the intermediate years be- 
tween these and the year 1815, being similar in character to the removals 
I have already described, Mr. Sellar shall hereafter only figure in my 
narrative as a leviathan tenant, wdio individually supplanted scores of the 
worthy small farmers of the parish of Farr. 



LETTER YI. 

Sir, — The integrity manifested by the sheriflfs, Cranstoun and M'Kid, 
led to their dismissal from office, immediately after the trial. This dis- 
missal operated as a sentance of banishment and ruin to Mr. M'Kid — his 
business in Sutherlandshire was at an end ; he retired to Caithness with a 
large family, and commenced business as a writer, where every malignant 
influence followed him from the ruling powers in the former county. It 
is to be hoped that this upright gentleman has since surmounted his dif- 



13 

ficulties ; he must at all events have enjoyed a high reward in the testi- 
mony of a good conscience. 

I have hitlierto given the noble proprietors the title they bore at the 
time of the occurrences mentioned, but in order to avoid ambiguity, it 
may be necessary to give a brief historical sketch of the family. The 
late Duchess of Sutherland, premier peeress of Scotland, in her own right, 
succeeded to the estates of her father, "William, 21st Earl of Sutherland, 
with the title cf Countess, in the year 1766, being then only one year old. 
In 1785 she married the Marquis of Stafford and took his title in addition. 

In the year 1833, the Marquis was created a Duke, and his lady was 
subsequently styled Duchess-Countess of Sutherland. She wns a lady of 
superior mind and attainments, but her great and good qualities were lost 
to her Highland tenantry, from her being non-resident, and having adopt- 
ed the plan of removing the natives, and letting the land to strangers. 
Their eldest surviving son, Lord Leveson Gower, also a prominent person, 
succeeded to the titles and estates of both parents on their decease, and is 
now the Duke of Sutherland. 

The family mansion, Dunrobin Castle, is situated on the southern 
border of the county, and in the rare case of any of the noble family 
coming to the Highlands during the period of the removals, they only 
came to the castle and stopt there, where the old tenants were strictly 
denied access, while the new occupiers had free personal communication 
with the proprietoi-s. When any memorial or petition from the former 
could be got introduced, there was no attention paid to them if not signed 
by a minister; and this was next to impossible, as the clergy, with one 
honourable excei)tion, had taken the other side. In every case it appeared 
that the factore and ministers were consulted, and the decision given ac- 
cording to their suggestions and advice. 

On the resignation or dismis.sal of Messrs. Young and Sellar, Mr. Loch, 
now M. P. for the Northern Burghs, came into full power as chief, and a 
Mr. Suther as under factor. Mr. Loch is a Scotsman, but not a High- 
lander. He had previously been chief agent on the English estates, and 
general adviser to the proceedings relative to the Sutherland tenantry, and 
cognizant of all the severities towards them. This gentleman has written 
a work entitled, ** An account of the Improvements on the estates of the 
Manpiis of Stafford, in the counties of Stafford and Salop, and on the 
estate of Sutherland," in which he has attempted to justify or i)alliate the 
proceedings in which he bore a prominent part. His book is, there- 
fore, scarce ever to be relied on for a single fact, when the main ol)ject 
interfered ; he vilifies the Highlandei-H, and misrei)resents every thing to 
answer his puri)08e. He has been fully answered, his arguments refuted, 
and his sophistries exposed by Major-General Stewart, in his "Sketches 
of the Character and Manners of the Highlanders of Scotland," to which 
excellent work I beg to call the attention of every friend to truth and 
justice, and especially those who take an interest in the fate of the expa- 
triated tenantry. The Genentl has completely vindicated the character of 
the Highland tenantry, and shown the impolicy, as well as cruelty, of the 
means used for their ejection. The removal of Messrs. Young and Sellar, 



u 

particularly the latter, from the power they had exercised so despotically, 
was hailed with the greatest joy by the people, to whom their very names 
were a terror. Their appearance in any neif^hbourhood had been such a 
cause of alarm, as to make women fall into tits, and in one instance caused 
a woman to lose her reason, which, as far as I know, she has not yet 
recovered ; whenever she saw a stranger she cried out, with a terrific tone 
and manner. Oh! sin Stllar /—'' Oh I there's Sellar!" 

Bitter, however, was the people's disappointment when they found the 
way in which the new factors began to exercise their powers. The mea- 
sures of their predecessors were continued and aggravated, though, on 
account of unexpired leases, the removals were but partial till the years 
1819 and 1820. However, I must not pass over the expulsion and suffer- 
ings of forty families who were removed by Mr. Sellar, almost imme- 
diately after his trial. This person, not finding it convenient to occupy 
the whole of the 6,000 or 7,000 acres, which he had obtained possession 
of, and partially cleared in 1814, had agreed to let these forty families 
remain as tenants-at-will ; but he now proceeded to remove them in the 
same unfeeling manner as he had ejected the others, only he contented 
himself with utterly demolishing their houses, barns, &c., but did not, as 
before, set fire to them till the inmates removed ; they leaving their 
crops in the ground as before described. This year (1 816) will be remem- 
bered for its severity by many in Scotland. The winter commenced by 
the snow falling in large quantities in the month of October, and continued 
with increased rigour, so that the difficulty — almost impossibility — of the 
people, without barns or shelter of any kind, securing their crops, maybe 
easily conceived. I have seen scores of the poor outcasts employed for 
weeks together, with the snow from two to four feet deep, watching the 
corn from being devoured by the now hungry sheep of the incoming 
tenants ; carrying oji their backs — horses being unavailable in such a case, 
across the country, without roads, on an average of twenty miles, to their 
new allotments on the sea coast, any portion of their grain and potatoes 
they could secure under such dreadfid circumstances. During labour and 
sufferings, which none but Highlanders could sustain, they had to subsist 
entirely on potatoes dug out of the snow ; cooking them as they could, in 
the open air, among the ruins of their once comfortable dwellings ! While 
alternate frosts and thaws, snow-storms and rain were succeeding each 
other in all the severity of mid-winter, the people might be seen carrying 
on their labours, and bearing their burdens of damp produce, under which 
many, especially the females, were occasionally sinking in a fainting state, 
till assisted by others, little better off than themselves. In some very rare 
instances only, a little humane assistance was aftbrded by the shepherds: 
in general their tender mercies, like those of their unfeeling masters, 
were only cruelty. 

The filling up of this feeble outline must be left to the imagination of 
the reader, but I may mention that attendant on all previous and subse- 
quent removals, and especially this one, many severe diseases made their 
appearance; such as had been hitherto almost unknown among the High- 
land population; viz: typus fever, consumption, and pulmonary complaints 



If) 

in all their varieties, hloody flux, bowel complaints, eruptions, rheuma- 
tisms, piles, and maladies peculiar to females. So that the new and un- 
comfortable dwellings of this lately robust and healthy peasantry, "their 
country's pride," were now become family hosi)itals and lazar-houses of 
the sick and the dying ! Famine and utter destitution inevitably fol- 
lowed, till thft misery of my once happy countrymen reached an alarming 
height, and began to attract attention as an almost national calamity. 

Even Mr. Loch in his before-mentioned work, has been constrained to 
admit the extreme distress of the people. He says, (page 76,) " Their 
wretchedness was so great, that after pawning everything they ])ossessed, 
to the fishermen on the coast, such as had no cattle were reduced to come 
down from the hills in hundreds, for the purpose of gathering cockles on 
the shoie. Those who lived in the more remote situations of the country 
were obliged to subsist upon broth made of nettles, thickened with a little 
oatmeal. Those who had cattle had recourse to the still more wretched ex- 
pedient of bleeding them, and mixing the blood with oatmeal, which they 
afterwards cut into slices and fried. Those who had a little money, came 
down and slept all night u])on the beach, in order to watch the boats re- 
turning from the fishing, that they might be in time to obtain a part of 
what had been caught." This gentleman, however, omits to mention, 
the share he had in bringing things to such a pass, and also that, at the 
same time, he had armed constables stationed at Littleferry, the only 
place where shell-fish were to be found, to prevent the people from 
gathering them. In his next page he gives an exaggerated account of 
the relief afforded by the proprietors. I shall not copy his mis-statments, 
but proceed to say what that relief, so ostentatiously put forth, really con- 
sisted of. As to his assertion that " £3,000 had been given by way of 
loan to those who had cattle," I look ui)on it to be a fabrication, or, if the 
money really was sent by the noble proprietors, it must have been retained 
by those intrusted with its distribution ; for, to my knowledge, it never 
came fo the hands of any of the small tenants. There was, indeed, a con- 
siderable quantity of meal sent, though far from enough to afford effectual 
relief, but this meal represented to be given in cliarity, was charged at 
the following Martinmas term, at the rate of 50s. per boll. Payment was 
rigorously exacted, and those who had cattle were obliged to give them up 
for that purpose, but this latter part of the story was never sent to the 
new8pai>er8, and Mr. Loch has a.\so forgottni to mention it ! There was a 
considerable quantity of medicine given to the ministers for distribution 
for which no charge was nmde, and this was th(5 whole amount of relief 
afforded. 



LETTER VII. 

The honourahle acquittal of Mr. Sellar, and the compliments he receiv- 
ed in consequence from the presiding judge, with the dismissal of the 
sheriffs had the desired effect upon the minds of the poor Sutherlanders, 
and those who took an interest in their case. Every voice in their behalf 



IG 

was silenced and every pen laid dovr — in short, every cliannel for redress 
or protection from future violence Wi^d closed; the people were prostrated 
under the feet of their oppressors, who well knew how to take advantage 
of their position. It appeared that, for a considerable interval, there 
were no regular sheriffs in the county, and that the authority usually 
exercised by them was vested in Captain Kenneth jVI'Kay, a native of 
the county, and now one of the extensive sheep farmers. It was l)y virtue 
of warrants granted by this gentleman that the proceedings I am about 
to describe took place, and, if the sheriff-officers constables, and assistants, 
exc(;edftd their authority, they did so under his immediate eye and cogni- 
zance, as he was all the time residing in his house, situated so that he 
must have witnessed a great part of the scene from his own front window. 
Therefore, if he did not immediately authorize the atrocities to the extent 
committed (which I will not assert), he at least used no means to restrain 
them. 

At this period a great majority of the inhabitants were tenants-at-will 
and therefore liable to ejectment on getting regular notice ; there were, 
however, a few who had still existing tacks (although some had been 
wheedled or frightened into surrendering them), and these were, of course^ 
unmolested till the expiration of their tacks ; they were then turned out 
like the rest ; but the great body of the tenantry were in the former con- 
dition. Meantime, the factors, taken advantage of the broken sj^irit and 
prostrate state of the people — trembling at their w^ords or even looks — 
betook themselves to a new scheme to facilitate their intended proceedings, 
and this was to induce every householder to sign a bond or paper contain- 
ing a promise of removal: and alternate threats and promises were used to 
induce them to do so. The promises were never realised, but, notwith- 
standing the people's compliance, the threats were put in execution. In 
about a month after the factors had obtained this promise of removal, and 
thirteen days before the May term, the work of devastation was begun : 
they commenced by setting fire to the houses of the small tenants in ex- 
tensive districts — part of the parishes of Farr, Rogart, Golspie, and the 
whole parish of Kildonan. I was an eye-witness of the scene. This 
calamity came on the people quite unexpectedly. Strong parties, for 
each district, furnished with faggots and other combustibles, rushed on 
the dwellings of this devoted people, and immediately commenced setting 
fire to them, proceeding in their work with the greatest rapidity till about 
three hundred houses were in flames ! The consternation and confusion 
were extreme ; little or no time was given for removal of persons or 
property — the people striving; to remove the sick and the helpless before 
the fire should reach them — next, struggling to save the most valuable of 
their effects. The cries of the women and children — the roaring of the 
affrighted cattle hunted at the same time by the yelling dogs of the 
shepherds amid the smoke and tire — altogether presented a scene that 
completely baffles description: it required to be seen to be believed. A 
dense cloud of smoke enveloped the whole country by day, and even ex- 
tended far on the sea ; at night an awfully grand, but terrific scene pre- 
sented itself — all the houses in an extensive district in flames at once! I 



myself ascended a height about eleven f^'jlock in the evening, and counted 
two hundred and fifty blazing houses, niany of the owners of which were 
my relations, and all of whom I personally knew; but whose present con- 
dition, whether in or out of the flames, I could not tell. The conflapfi'a- 
tion lasted six days, till the whole of the dwellings were reduced to ashes 
or smoking ruins. During one of these days a boat lost her way in the 
dense smoke as she approached the shore ; but at night she was enabled 
to reach a landing place by the light of the flames ! 

It would be an endless task to give a detail of the suflferings of families 
and individuals during this calamitous period; or to describe its dreadful 
consequences on the health and lives of the victims. I will, however, at- 
tempt a very few cases. While the burning was going on, a small sloop 
arrived, laden with quick lime, and when discharging her cargo, the skip- 
per agreed to take as many of the people to Caithness as he could carry, 
on his return. Accordingly, about twenty families went on board, filling 
deck, hold, and every part of the vessel. There were childhood and age, 
male and female, sick and well, with a small portion of their effects, saved 
from the flames, all huddled together in heaps. Many of these persons 
had never been on sea before, and when they began to sicken a scene in- 
describable ensued. To add to their miseries, a storm and contrary winds 
prevailed, so that instead of a day or two, the usual time of passage, it was 
nine dw/s before they reached Caithness. All this time, the poor crea- 
tures, almost without necessaries, most of them dying with sickness, were 
either wallowing among the lime) and various excrements in the hold, or 
lying on the deck, exposed to the raging elements ! This voyage soon 
proved fatal to many, and some of the survivors feel its effects to this day. 
During this time, also, typus fever was raging in the country, and many 
in a critical state had to fly, or were carried by their friends out of the 
burning houses. Among the rest, a young man, Donald M'Kay of 
Grumbmorr, was ordered out of his parents' house; he obeyed, in a state 
of delirium, and (nearly naked) ran into some bushes adjoining, where he 
lay for a considerable time deprived of reason; the house was immediately 
in flames, and his effects burned. Robert M'Kay, whose whole family 
were in the fever, or otherwise ailing, had to carry his two daughters on 
his back, a distance of al)out twenty-five miles. He accomplished this by 
first carrying one, and laying her down in the open air, and returning, 
did the same with the other, till he reached the sea-shore, and then went 
with them on board the lime vessel before mentioned. An old man of the 
same name, betook himself to a deserted mill, and lay there unable to 
move; and to the best of my recollection, he died there. He had no sus- 
tenance but what he obtained by licking the dust and refuse of the meal 
strewed about, and was defended from the rats and other vermin, by his 
faithful colbf, his companion and protector. A number of the sick, who 
could not be carried away instantly, on account of their dangerous situa- 
tion, were collected by their friends and placed in an obscure, uncomfor- 
table hut, and there, for a time, left to their fate. The cries of these 
victims were heart-rending — exclaiming in their anguish, "Are you 
going to leave us to perish in tlu; flames 1" However, tlw dcstrovrrs 



18 

passed near the hut, apparently without noticing it, and consequently they 
remained unmolested till they could be conveyed to the shore, and put on 
board the before-mentioned sloop. George Munro, miller at Farr, residing 
within 400 yards of the minister's house, had his whole family, consisting 
of six or seven persons, lying in a fever ; and being ordered instantly to 
remove, was enabled, with the assistance of his neighbours to carry them 
to a damp kiln, where they remained till the fire abated, so that they could 
be removed. Meantime the house was burnt. It may not be out of place 
here to mention generally, that the clergy, factors, and magistrates, were 
cool and apparently unconcerned spectators of the scenes I have been des- 
cribing, which were indeed prepetrated under their immediate authority. 
The splendid and comfortable mansions of these gentlemen, were reddened 
with the glare of their neighbours flaming houses, without exciting any 
compassion for the sufierers; no spiritual, temporal, or medical aid was 
aftbrded them; and this time they were all driven away ivithout hemg 
allowed the benefit of their outgoing crop 1 Nothing but the sword was 
wanting to make the scene one of as great barbarity as the earth ever 
witnessed ; and in my opinion, this would, in a majority of cases, have 
been mercy, by saving them from what they were afterwards doomed to 
endure. The clergy, indeed, in their sermons, maintained that the whole 
was a merciful interposition of providence to bring them to repentance, 
rather than to send them all to hell, as they so richly deserved ! And 
here I beg leave to ask those Rev. gentlemen, or the survivors of them, 
and especially my late minister, Mr. M'Kenzie of Farr, if it be true, as 
was generally reported, that during these horrors I have been feebly 
endeavouring to describe — there was a letter sent from the proprietors, 
addressed to him, or to the general body, requesting to know if the 
removed tenants were well provided for, and comfortable, or words to that 
effect, and that the answer returned was, that the people were quite com- 
fortable in their new allotments, and that the change was greatly for their 
benefit. This is the report that was circulated and believed; and the 
subsequent conduct of the clergy affords too much reason for giving it 
credence as I shall soon have occasion to show. 



LETTER VIII. 

The depopulation I have been treating of, with its attendant horrors 
and miseries, as well as its impolicy, is so justly reasoned upon by General 
Stewart, in the work formerly alluded to, that I beg to transcribe a para- 
graph or two. At page 168 he says: — "The system of overlooking the 
original occupiers, and of giving every support to strangers, has been 
much practiced in the highland counties; and on one great estate (the 
Sutherland) the support which was given to farmers of capital, as well 
in the amount of sums expended on improvements, as in the liberal 
abatement of rents, is, I believe, unparalleled in the United Kingdom, 
and affords additional matter of regret, that the delusions practised on a 



19 

generous and public-spirited landholder, have been so perseveringly and 
successfully applied, that it would appear as if all feeling of former kind- 
ness towards the native tenantry had ceased to exist. To them any uncul- 
tivated spot of moorland, however small, was considered sufficient for the 
support of a family; while the most lavish encouragement has been given 
to the new tenants, on whom, and with the erection of buildings, the 
improvement of lands, roads, bridges, ifcc. upwards of £210,000 has 
been expended since the year 1808. With this proof of unprecedented 
liberality, it cannot be sufficiently lamented, that an estimate of the 
character of these poor people was taken from the misrepresentations of 
interested pei-sons, instead of judging from the conduct of the same men 
when brought into the world, where they obtained a name and character 
which have secured the esteem and approbation of men high in honour 
and rank, and, from their talents and experience, perfectly capable of 
judging with correctness. With such proofs of capability, and with such 
materials for carrying on the improvements, and maintaining the perma- 
nent prosperity of the county, when occupied by a hardy, abstemious 
race, easily led on to a full exertion of their faculties by a jjroper manage- 
ment, theie cannot be a question but that if, instead of placing them, as 
has been done, in situations bearing too near a resemblance to the potato- 
gardens of Ireland, they had been permitted to remain as cultivators of 
the soil, receiving a moderate share of the vast sums lavished on their 
richer successors, such a humane and considerate regard to the prosperity 
of a whole people, would undoubtedly have answered every good purpose." 
In reference to the new allotments, he says; "when the valleys and higher 
grounds were let to the shepherds, the whole population was driven to the 
sea shore, where they were crowded on small lots of land, to earn their 
subsistence by labour and by sea fishing, the latter so little congenial to 
their former habits." He goes on to remark, in a note, that these one or 
two acre lots f are represented as an wipioved system. "In a country 
without regular employment and without manufactures, a family is to be 
supported on one or two acres ! !" The consequence was, and continues 
to be, that, ** over the whole of this district, where the sea shore is acces- 
sible, the coast is thickly studded with wretched cottages, crowded with 
starving inhabitants." Strangers " with capital" usurp the land and dis- 
possess the swain. " Ancient respectable tenants, who passed the greater 
part of life in the enjoyment of abundance, and in the exercises of hospi- 
tality and charity, possessing stocks of ten, twenty, and thii-ty breeding 
cows, with the usual proportion of other stock, are now pining on one or 
two acres of bad land, with one or two starved cows ; and for this accom- 
modation, a calculation is made, that they must support their families and 
pay the rent of their lots, not from the produce but from the sea. When 
the heiring fishery succeeds they generally satisfy the landlords, whatever 
privations they may suffer; but when the fishing fails, they fall in arrears 
and are sequestrated, and their stock sold to pay the rents, their loU given 
to others, and they and their families turned adrift on the world. There 
are still a few small tenants on the old system ; but they are fast falling 
into decay, and sinking into the class j ust descrilwd. " Again, " we cannot 



sufficiently a<lmire their meek and patient spirit, supported by the powerful 
influence of moral and religions principle." I need not go farther, but 
again beg the reader's attention to this most valuable work, especially the 
article "Change of Tenancy," as illustrative of the condition and exponent 
of the character and feelings of my poor countrymen, as well as corrobora- 
tive of the facts to which I am endeavouring to call public attention, as 
causes of the distress and destitution still prevailing in Sutherlandshire. 
By the means described, large tracts of country were depopulated, and 
converted into solitary wastes. The whole inhabitants of Kildonan parish 
(with the exception of three families), amounting to near 2,000 souls, 
were utterly rooted and burned out. Many, especially the young and 
robust, left the country ; but the aged, the females and children, were obli- 
ged to stay and except the wretched allotments allowed them on the sea 
shore, and endeavour to learn fishing, for which all their former habits 
rendered them unfit; hence their time was spent in unproductive toil and 
misery, and many lives were lost. Mr. Ss^ge, of evergreen memory, was 
the parish minister — 

" Among the faithless, faithful only he ! " 

This gentleman had dissented from his brethren, and, to the best of his 
power, opposed their proceedings ; hence he was persecuted and despised 
by them and the factors, and treated with marked disrespect. After the 
burning out, having lost his pious elders and attached congregation, he 
went about mourning till his demise, which happened not long after. His 
son had been appointed by the people minister of a chapel of ease, parish 
of Farr, and paid by them ; but, when the exjiulsion took place, he remo- 
ved to Aberdeen, and afterwards to a parish in Ross-shire. On account 
of his father's integrity he could not expect a kirk in Sutherlandshire. 

After a considerable interval of absence, I revisited my native place in 
the year 1828, and attendecl divine worship in the parish church, now 
reduced to the size and appearance of a dove-cot. The whole congregation 
consisted of eight shepherds, with their dogs, to the amount of between 20 
and 30, the minister, three of his family, and myself ! I came in after the 
first singing, but, at the conclusion, the 120th psalm was given out, and 
struck up to the famous tune, " Bangor ;" when the four-footed hearers 
became excited, got up on the seats, and raised a most infernal chorus of 
howling. Their masters then attacked them with their crooks, which only 
made matters worse; the yelping and howling continued till the end of the 
service. I retired, to contemplate the shameful scene, and compare it with 
what I had previously witnessed in the large and devout congregations for- 
merly attending in that kirk. What must the worthy Mr. Campbell have 
felt while endeavouring to edify such a congregation ! The Barony of 
Strathnaver, parish of Farr, 2o miles in length, containing a population as 
numerous as Kildonan, who had been all rooted out at the general conflag- 
ration, presented a similar aspect. Here, the church no longer found 
necessary, was razed to the ground, and the timber of it conveyed to Alt- 
naharrow, to be used in erecting an Inn (one of the new improvements) 
there, and the minister's house converted into the dwelling of a fox-hun- 



21 

ter. A woman, well known in that i)aiish, happening to traverse the 
Strath the year after the burning, was asked on her return, wliat news 1 
" Oh," said she, " Sgeul bronach, sgeul brhnach ! sad news, sad news ! 
I have seen the timber of our well-attended kirk, covering the Inn at 
Altnaharrow ; I have seen the kirk-yard, where our fi-iends are mouldering 
tilled with tarry sheep, and Mr. Sage's study room, a kennel for llobert 
Gunn's dogs; and I have seen a crow*s nest in James Gordon's chimney 
head!" On this she fell into a paroxysm of grief, and it was several days 
before she could utter a word to be tinderstood. During the late devasta- 
tions, a Captain John M'Kay was appointed sub-factor, under Mr. Loch, 
for the district of Strathnaver. This gentleman, had he been allowed liis 
own way, would have exercised his power beneficially; but he was subject 
to persons cast in anotlier mould, and had to sanction what he could not 
approve. He did all he could to mitigate the condition of the natives, by 
giving them employ mentj in preference to strangei*s, at the public works 
;ind improvements, as they were cajled ; but finding their enemies too 
powerful and malignant, and the n/sery and destitution too great to be 
<ven partially removed, he shrunk from his ungracious task and went to 
America, where he breathed his last, much regretted by all who knew him 
on both sides of the Atlantic. . 



LETTER IX. 

I have already mentioned that the clergy of the Established Church 
(none other were tolerated in Sutherland), all but Mr. Sage, were consent- 
ing parties to the expulsion of the inhabitants, and had susbtantial reasons 
for their readiness to accept wooly and hairy ^Himals — sheep and dogs — 
in place of theii- human flocks. The kirks and manses were mostly situa- 
ted in the low grounds, and the clergy hithei-to held their pasturage in 
common with the tenantry ; and this state of tilings, established by law and 
usage, no factor or proprietor had power to alter without mutual consent. 
Had the ministers maintained those rights, they would have placed in 
many cases, an eflectual bar to the oppressive j»roceedings of the factors; 
for the strange sheep-farmers would not bid for, or take the lands where 
the minister's sheep and cattle would be allowed toco-niingle with theira. 
But no ! Anxious to please the " powers that be," and no less anxious to 
drive advantageous Imrgains with them, these reverend gentlemen found 
means to get their lines laid **in plea.sant places," and to secure good and 
convenient portions of the pastuie lands enclosed for themselves: niany of 
the small tenants were removed purely to statisfy them in these arraiige- 
inents. Theirsubserviency to thefnctoi-s, in all things, was not for nought. 
Besidesgetting their hill pastumge enclosed, their tillage lands wereexU-nd- 
ed, new manses and olHces were built for them, and roads made specially 
for their accommodation, and every arrangenjent made for their advantage. 
They basked in the sunsliine of favour; they were the bosonj friends of tlie 
factors and new tenants (many of whom were soon made niagistmtes), and 



22 

had the honour of occasional visits, at their manses, from the proprietors 
themselves. They were always employed to explain and interpret to the 
assembled people the orders and designs of the factors; and they did not 
spare their college paint on these occasions. Black was made white, or 
white black, as it answered their purpose, in discharging what they called 
their duty ! They did not scruple to introduce the name of the Diety ; 
representing Him as the author and abettor of all the foul and cruel pro- 
ceedings carried on ; and they had at hand another useful being ready to 
seize every soul who might feel any inclination to revolt. Indeed, the 
manifest works of the later in their own hands, were sufficient to prove 
his existence ; while the whole appearance of the country, and the state of 
its inhabitants at this period, afforded ample proof that the principle of 
evil was in the ascendant. The tyranny of one class, and the wrongs and 
sufferings of the other, had demoralising effects on both; the national 
character and manners were changed and deteriorated, and a comparativly 
degenerate race is the consequence. This was already manifest in the year 
1822, when George IV. made his famous visit to Edinburgh. The brave* 
athletic and gallant men, who in 1745, and again more recently, in 1800, 
rose in thousands at the call of their chief, were no longer to be traced in 
their descendants. When the clans gathered to honour His Majesty on 
the latter occasion, the Sutherland turn-out was contemptible. Some two 
or three dozen of squalid-looking, ill-dressed, and ill-appointed men, were 
all that Sutherland produced. So inferior, indeed, was their appearance 
to the other Highlanders, that those who had the management refused to 
allow them to walk in the procession, and employed them in some duty 
out of public view. If their appearance was so bad, so also were their 
accommodations. They were huddled together in an old empty house, 
sleeping on straw, and fed with the coarsest fare, while the other clans 
were living in comparative luxury. Lord Erancis Leveson Gower, and 
Mr. Loch, who were present, reaped little honour by the exhibition of their 
Sutherland retainers on that great occasion. Moral degradation also, to 
some extent, followed that of physical. Many vices, hitherto almost 
unknown, began to make their appearance; and though the people never 
resorted to " wild savage justice," like those of Ireland in similar circum- 
stances, the minor trangressions of squabbling, drunkeness, and inconti- 
nency became less rare — the natural consequence of their altered condition. 
Religion also, from the conduct of the clergy, began to lose its hold on 
their minds — and who can wonder at it? — when they saw these holy men 
closely leagued with their oppressors. ^'Ichabod," the glory of Suther- 
land had departed — perhaps never to return ! 



LETTER X. 

I now proceed to describe the "allotments" on which the expelled and 
burnt-out inhabitants were allowed to locate during the pleasure of the 
factors. These allotments were generally situated on the sea-coast, the 
intention beinjr to force those who could not or would not leave the 



23 

country, to draw their subsistence from the sea by fishing ; and in order 
to deprive them of any other means, the lots were not only made small, 
(varying from one to three acres), but their nature and situation rendered 
them unfit for any useful purpose. If the reader will take the trouble to 
examine the map of Sutherlandshire by Mr. Loch, he will perceive that 
the county is bounded on the north by the Northern Ocean, on the south 
by the county of Ross, on the west by the Mynch, on the north-east by 
Caithness, and on the south-east by the Moray Frith. To the sea-coasts, 
then, which surround the greatest part of the country were the whole 
mass of the inhabitants, to the amount of several thousand families, driven 
by their unrelenting tyrants, in the manner I have described, to subsist 
as they could, on the sea or the air ; for the spots allowed them could not 
be called land, being composed of narrow stripes, j)romontories, cliffs and 
precii>ices, rocks, and deep crevices, interspersed with bogs and morasses. 
The whole quite useless to the superiors, and evidently never designed by 
nature for the habitation of man or beast. This was, with a few exceptions, 
the character of these allotments. The patches of soil where anything 
could be grown, were so few and scanty that when any dispute arose about 
the pro|)erty of them, the owner could easily carry them away in a creel on 
his back and deposit them in another place. In many places, the spots 
the poor people endeavoured to cultivate were so steep that while one was 
delving, another had to hold up the soil with his hands, lest it should roll 
into the sea, and from its constant tendancy to slide downwards, they had 
frequently to carry it up again every spring and spread it upon the higher 
parts. These patches were so small that few of them would afford room 
for more than a few handfuls of seeds, and in harvest, if there happened 
to be any crop, it was in continual danger of being blown into the sea, in 
that bleak inclement region, where neither tree nor shrub could exist to 
arrest its progress. In most years, indeed, when any mentionable crop 
was realised, it was generally destroyed before it could come to maturity, 
by sea blasts and mildew. In some places, on the north coast, the sea is 
forced up through crevices, rising in columns to a prodigious height and 
scattering its spray upon the adjoining spots of land, to the utter dostinic- 
tion of any thing that may be growing on them. These were the circum- 
stancos to which this devoted people were reduced, and to which none but 
a hardy, patient and moral race, with an ardent attiichment to their 
country, would have quietly submitted; here they, with their cattle, had to 
remain for the present, expecting the southern dealers to come at the 
usual time (the months of June and July) to purchase their stocks; but 
the time came and passed, and no dealere made their appearance; none 
would venture into the country ! The poor animals in a starving state, 
were continually running to and fro, and frequently could not be prevented 
from straying towards their former pasture grounds, especially in the night, 
notwithstanding all the care taken to prevent it. When this occurre<l, 
they were immediately seized by the shepherds and impounded without 
footl or water, till tresspass was paid ! this was repeated till a great many of 
the cattle were rendered useless. It was nothing strange to see the pinfolds, 
of twenty to thirty yards square, filled to the entrance with horses, cows, 



sheep and goats, promiscuously for nfghts and days together, in that starving 
state, trampling on and goi-iug each other. Tlie lamentable neighing, 
lowing, and bleating of these creatures, and the pitiful looks they cast on 
their owners when they could recognize them, were distressing to witness; 
and formed an addition to the*mass of suffering then prevailing. But this 
was not all that beset the poor beasts. In some instances when they had 
been trespassing, they were hurried back by the pursuing shepherds or 
by their ownei*s, and in running near the precipices may of them had 
their bones broken or dislocated, and a great number fell over the rocks 
into the sea, and were never seen more. Vast numbers of sheep and many 
horses and other cattle which escaped their keepers and strayed to a 
distance to their former pastures, were baited by men and dogs till they 
were either partially or totally destroyed, or became meat for their hunters. 
I have myself seen many instances of the kind, where the animals were 
lying partly consumed by the dogs, though still alive, and their eyes picked 
oat by birds of prey. AVhen the cattle were detained by the shepherds in 
the folds before mentioned, for trespass, to any amouut the latter thought 
proper to exact, those of their owners who had not money — and they were 
the majority — were obliged to relieve them by depositing their bed and 
body clothes, watches, rings, pins, brooches, ikc, many of these latter were 
the relics of dear and valued relatives, now no more, not a few of whom 
had shed their blood in defence of that country from which their friends 
were now ignominously driven, or treated as useless lumber, to be got rid 
of at any price. The situation of the people with their families and cattle, 
driven to these inhospitable coasts, and harassed and oppressed in every 
possible way, presented a lamentable contrast to their former way of life. 
While they were grudged those barren and useless spots — and at high 
rents too — the new tenants were accommodated Avith leases of as much 
land as they chose to occupy, and at reduced rents; many of them holding 
farms containing many thousand acres. One farm held by M essrs. Atkin- 
son and Marshall, two gentlemen from Northumberland, contained an 
hundred thousand acres of good pasture-land! Mr. Sellar had three large 
farms, one of which was twenty -tive miles long; and, in some i)laces, nine 
or ten miles broad, situated in the barony of Strathnaver. This gentleman 
was said to have lost annually, large quantities of sheep; and others of 
the new tenants were frequently making complaints of the same kind; all 
these depredations, as well as every other, were laid to the charge of the 
smcdl tenants. An association was formed for the suppression of sheep- 
stealing in Sutherlandshire, and large rewards were held out — Lord 
Stafford himself offering £30 for the conviction of any of the offenders. 
But though every effort was used to bring the crime home to the natives 
(one gentleman, whom, for obvious reasons I will not name, said in my 
hearing, he would rather than £1000 get one conviction from among 
them) : yet, I am proud to say, all these endeavours were ineffectual. 
Not one public conviction could they obtain! In time, however, the saddle 
came to be laid on the right horse; the shepherds could rob their masters* 
flocks in safety, while the natives got the blame of all, and they were 
evidently no way sparing; but at last they were found out, and I have 



reason to know that several of them wefe dismissed, and some had their own 
private stocks confiscated to their masters to make good the damage of their 
depredations. This was, however, all done privately, so that the odium 
might still attach to the natives. In concluding this part of the subject, 
I may observe that such of the cattle as strayed on the ministeiV grounds, 
fared no better than others; only that, as far as I know, these gentlemen 
did not follow the pmctice of the shepherds in working the horses all day 
and returning them to the pinfold at night : and I am very happy in being 
able to give this testimony in favour of these reverend gentlemen. 

I must not omit to mention here an anecdote illustrative of the state of 
things prevailing, at that time One of the shepherds on returning home 
one Sabbath evening, after partaking of the Loid's Supper, in tlie church 
of Farr, ob.served a number of the poor people's sheep and goats trespassing 
at the outskirts of his master's hill-pasturage, and with the assistance of 
his dogs, which had also been at the kirk, drove them home and impounded 
them. On Monday morning he took as many of the lambs and kids as he 
thought proper, and had them killed for the use of his own family ! The 
owners complained to his master, who was a magistrate ; but the answer 
was, that they should keep them oflf his property, or eat them themselves, 
and then his servants could not do it for them, or words to that effect. 
One way or other, by starvation, accidents, and the depredations of the 
shepherds and their dogs, the i)eople's cattle to the amount of many 
hundred head, were" utterly lost and destroyed. 



LETTER XL 

I have now endeavoured to shadow forth the cruel expulsion of my 
** co-mates and brothera in exile," from their native hearths, and to give 
a faint sketch of their extreme sufferings and privations in consequence. 
Few instances are to be found in modern European history, and scarce any 
in Britian, of such a wholesale extirpation, and with such revolting 
circumstances. It is impo.ssible for me to give more than an outline ; 
the filling up would take a large volume, and the sufferings, insult, and 
misery, to which this sim'ple, pastoral race were exposed, would exceed 
belief. But if I can draw public attention to their case, so as to promote 
that authorised inquiry, so much deprecated by Highland proprietors, my 
end will be attained. If the original inhabitants could have been got rid 
of totally, and their language and memory eradicated, the oppressors were 
not disposed to be scrupulous about the means. Justice, humanity, and 
even the laws of the land, were violated with imimnity, wlion they stood 
in the way of the new plans on " Change of Tenancy;" and tlusc plans, 
with more or less severity, still continue to l>e acted ujK)n in scvt lul u£ tlio 
Highland counties, but more especially in Sutherland, to this day. But 
there is still a nunil>er left, abject, '^scattered and perhd" as they are, in 
whose behalf I would plead, and to whose wrongs I would wish to give a 
tongue, in hopes that the feeble remnant of a once haj»pv un.l .stiuKiblo 



26 

people, may yet find some redress, or at least the comfort of public 
sympathy. I now proceed to give some account of the state of the 
Sutherlanders, on their martime ** allotments," and how they got on in 
their new trade of fishing. 

People accustomed to witness only the quiet friths and petty heavings 
of the sea, from the lowland shores, can form little conception of the 
gigantic workings of the Nothern sea, which, from a comparatively placid 
state, often rises suddenly without apparent cause, into mountainous 
billows ; and, when north winds prevail, its appearance becomes terrific 
beyond description. To this raging element, however, the poor people 
were now compelled to look for their subsistence, or starve, which was the 
only other alternative. It is hard to extinguish the love of life, and in 
was almost as hard to extinguish the love of country in a Highlandman 
in past times ; so that, though many of the vigorous and enterprising 
pursued their fortunes in other climes, and in various parts of Scotland 
and England, yet many remained, and struggled to accommodate them- 
selves to their new and appalling circumstances. The regular fishermen, 
who had hitherto pursued the finny race in the northern sea, were, from 
the extreme hazard of the trade, extremely few, and nothing could exceed 
the contempt and derision — mingled sometimes with pity, even in their 
rugged breasts — with which they viewed the awkward attempts and sad 
disasters of their new landward competitors. Nothing, indeed, could seem 
more helpless, than the attempt to draw subsistence from such a boisterous 
sea with such means as they possessed, and in the most complete ignorance 
of all sea-faring matters; but the attempt had to be made, and the success 
was as might be expected in such circumstances; while many — very many 
— lost their lives, some became in time, expert fishermen. Numerous as 
were the casualties, and of almost daily occurrence, yet the escapes, many 
of them extraordinary, were happily still more frequent; their disasters, 
on the whole, arose to a frightful aggregate of human misery. I shall 
proceed to notice a very few cases, to which I was a witness, or which 
occur to my recollection. 

William M'Kay, a respectable man, shortly after settling in his allot- 
ment on the coast, went one day to explore his new possession, and in 
venturing to examine more nearly the ware growing within the flood mark, 
was suddenly swept away by a splash of the sea, from one of the adjoining 
creeks, and lost his life, before the eyes of his miserable wife, in the last 
month of her pregnancy, and three helpless children who were left to 
deplore his fate. James Campbell, a man also with a family, on attempt- 
ing to catch a peculiar kind of small fish among the rocks, was carried 
away by the sea and never seen afterwards. Bell M'Kay, a married 
woman, and mother of a family, while in the act of taking up salt water 
to make salt of, was carried away in a similar manner, and nothing more 
seen of her. Kobert M'Kay, who with his family, were suffering extreme 
want, in endeavouring to procure some sea-fowls' eggs among the rocks, 
lost his hold, and falling from a prodigious height was dashed to pieces, 
leaving a wife, and five destitute children behind him. John M' Donald, 
while fishing, was swept off" the rocks, and never seen more. 



27 

It is not my intention to swell my narrative, by reciting the "moving 
accidents " that befell individuals and boats* crews, in their new and 
hazardous occupation ; suffice it to say, they were many and deplorable. 
Most of the boats were such as the regular fishermen had cast off as 
unservicable or unsafe, but which these poor creatures were obliged to 
purchase and go to sea with, at the hourly peril of their lives ; yet they 
often not only escaped the death to which others became a prey, but were 
very successful. One instance of this kind, in which I bore a part 
myself, I will here relate. Five venturous young men, of whom I was 
one, having bought an old crazy boat, that had long been laid up as 
useless, and having procured lines of an inferior description, for haddock 
tishing, put to sea, without sail, helm or compass, with three patched 
oars ; only one of the party ever having been on sea before. This apparently 
insane attempt gathered a crowd of spectators, some in derision cheering 
us on, and our friends imploring us to come back. However, Neptune 
being then in one of his placid moods, we boldly ventured on, human life 
ha\'iijg become reduced in value, and, after a night spent on the sea, in 
which we freshmen suffered severely from sea-sickness, to the great 
astonishment of the people on shore, the Heather-boat, as she was called, 
reached the land in the morning — all hands safe, with a very good take of 
fishes. In these and similar ways, did the young men serve a dangerous 
and painful apprenticeship to the sea, "urged on by fearless want," and in 
time became good fishermen, and were thereby enabled in some measure 
to support their families, and those dependent on them : but owing to 
peculiar circumstances, their utmost efforts were, in a great degree, 
abortive. The coast was, as I have said, extremely boisterous and 
destructive to their boats, tackle, &c. They had no harbours where they 
could land and secure their boats in safety, and little or no capital to 
procure sound boats, or to replace those which were lost. In one year 
on the coast, between Portskerra and Rabbit Island, (about 30 miles) 
upwards of one hundred boats had been either totally destroyed or 
materially injured, so as to render thcnj unserviceable; and many of their 
crews had found a watery grave! It is lamentable to think, that while 
X2 10,000 were expended on the so-called improvements, besides X500 
subscribed by the proprietors, for making a harbour, the most needful of 
all; not a shilling of the vast sum was ever exj>ended for behoof of the 
small tenantry, nor the least pains taken to mitigate their lot ! Roads, 
bridges, inns, and manses, to be sure, were provided for the accomoda- 
tion of the new gentlemen tenantry and clergy, but those who spoke the 
Gaelic tongue were a proscribed race, and everything was done to get rid 
of them, by driving them into the forlorn hope of deriving subsistence 
from the sea, while squatting on their miserable allotments, where, in 
their wretched hovels, they lingered out an almost hopeless existence, and 
where none but such hardy "sons of the mountain and the flood" could 
have existed at all. Add to this, though at some seasons they procured 
abundance of fish, they had no market for the surplus; the few shepherds 
were soon supplied, and they had no means of conveying them to distant 
towns, so that very little money could be realised to pay rent, or procure 



'2S 

orther necessaries, fishing tackle, etc., and when the tinny race thought 
ju'oper to desert their shores (as, in their caprice, they often do,) their 
misery was complete! Besides those located on the sea-shore, there was 
a portion of the people sent to the mooi-s, and these were no better off. 
Here they could neither get fish nor fowl, and the scraps of land given 
them were good for nothing — white or reddish gravel, covered with a thin 
layer of moss, and for this they were to pay rent, and raise food from it to 
maintain their families ! By immense labour they did iniprove some 
si)ots in these moors, and raise a little very inferior produce, biit not 
unfrequently, after all their toil, if they displeased the factors, or the 
shepherds in the least, even by a word, or failed in paying the rent, they 
were unceremoniously turned out; hence, their state of bondage may be 
understood; they durst not even complain ! The people on the property 
of Mr. Dempster, of Skibo, were little, if anything, better ofl". They 
were driven out though not by burning, and located on patches of moors, 
in a similar way to those on the Sutherland j)roperty, with the only 
diSerence that they had to pay higher than the latter for their wretched 
allotments. Mr. Dempster says " he has kept his tenantry ; " but how 
has he treated them 1 This question will be solved, I hope, when the 
authorised inquiry into the state of the poor Highlanders takes place. 



LETTER XII. 

Sir, — Were it not that I am unwilling to occupy your valuable columns 
to a much greater extent, I could bring forward, in the history of many 
families, several interesting episodes to illustrate this narrative of my 
■country's misfortunes. Numerous are the instances (some of the subjects 
of them could be produced even in this city) of persons, especially females 
whose mental and bodily sufferings, during the scenes I have described, 
have entailed on them diseases which baffle medical skill, and which 
death only can put an end to ; but I forbear to dwell on these at present, 
and pass on to the year 1827. 

The depopulation of the county (with the exceptions I have described) 
was now complete. The land had passed into the hands of a few capital- 
ists, and everything was done to promote their prosperity and convenience, 
while everything that had been promised to the small tenants, was, as 
regularly, left undone. But yet the latter were so stubborn that they 
c<juld not be brought to rob or steal, to afford cause for hanging or 
transporting them ; nor were they even willing to beg, though many of 
them were gradually forced to submit to this last degradation to the feel- 
ings of the high-minded Gael. It was in this year that her ladyship, the 
proprietrix, and suite, made a visit to Dunrobin Castle. Previous to her 
arrival, the clergy and factors, and the new tenants, set about raising a 
subscription throughout the county, to i)rovide a costly set of ornaments, 
with complimentary inscrii)tions, to be presented to her ladyship in name 



29 

of lier tenantry. Emissaries were dispatched for this purpose even to the 
small tenantry, located on the moors and barren cliffs, and every means 
used to wheedle or scare them into contributing. They were told that 
those who would subscribe would thereby secure her ladyship's and 
the factor's favour, and those who could not or would not, were given to 
understand, very significantly, what they had to expect, by plenty of 
menacing looks and ominous shakings of the head. This caused many of 
the poor creatures to part with their last shilling, to supply complimentary 
ornaments to honour this illustrious family, and which went to purchase 
additional favour for those who were enjoying the lands from which they 
had been so cruelly expelled. 

These testimonials were presented at a spl ended entertainment, and 
many high-flown compliments passed between the givers and receiver : 
but, of course, none of the poor victims were present ; no compliments 
were paid to them ; and it is questionable if her ladyship ever knew that 
one of them subscribed — indeed, I am almost certain she never did. Three 
years after, she made a more lengthened visit, and this time she took a 
tour round the northern districts on the sea-shore, where the poor peo))l<* 
were located, accompanied by a number of the clergy, the factors, ic. 
She was astonished and distressed at the destitution, nakedness, and 
extreme misery which met her eye in every direction, and made enquiries 
into their condition, and she ordered a general distribution of clothing to 
be made among the most destitute; but unfortunately she confined her 
inquiries to those who surrounded her, and made them the medium for 
distributing her bounty — the very parties who had been the main cause of 
this deplorable destitution, and whose interest it was to conceal the real 
state of the people, as it continues to be to this day. 

At one place she stood upon an eminence, where she had about a hun- 
dred of those wretched dwellings in view; at least she could see the smoke 
of them ascending from the horrid places in which they were situated. 
She turned to the parish minister in the utmost astonishment, and asked 
" Is it possible that there are people living in yonder places?" — O yes, 
my lady," was the reply. " And can you tell me if they are any way 
comfortable 1 " ** Quite comfortable, my lady." Now, sir, I can declare 
that at the very moment this reverend gentleman utti'red these words, he 
was fully aware of the horroi-s of their situation ; an<l besides that, some 
of the outcasts were then begging in the neighbouring county of Caith- 
ness, many of them carrying certificates from this very gentleman, attest- 
ing that they were objects of charity I 

Her ladyship, however, was not quite satisfied with these answers. She 
caused a general warning to be issued, directing the people to meet her, 
at stated places as she proceeded, and wherever a body of them met her, 
she alighted from her carriage, and (piestioned them if they w«;ie com- 
fortable, and how the factors were behaving to them ? [N.B. The factors 
wen^ always present on these occasions.] But they durst make little or no 
complaints. What they did gay was in Gaelic, and, of course, aa in other 
cases, left to the minister's interpretation; but their forlorn, haggard, and 
destitute apj>earance, sutficiently testified their real condition. 1 am (juite 



30 

certain, that had this great, and (I am willing to admit, when not misled) 
good woman remained on her estates, their situation would have been 
materially bettered, but as all her charity Avas left to be dispensed by those 
who w^ere anxious to get rid of the people, root and branch, little benefit 
resulted from it, at least to those she meant to relieve. As I mentioned 
above, she ordered bed and body clothes to all who were in need of them, 
but, as usual, all was entrusted to the ministers and factors, and they 
managed this business with the same selfishness, injustice, and partiality, 
that had marked their conduct on former occasions. Many of the most 
needy got nothing, and others next to nothing. For an instance of the 
latter, several families, consisting of seven or eight, and in great distress 
got only a yard and a half of coarse blue flannel, each family. Those 
however, who were the favourites and toadies of the distributors, and their 
servants, got an ample supply of both bed and body clothes, but this was 
the exception; generally speaking the poor people were nothing benefitted 
by her ladyship's charitable intentions; though they afforded hay-making 
seasons to those who had enough already, and also furnished matter for 
glowing accounts in the newspapers, of her ladyship's extraordinary munifi- 
cence.' To a decent highland woman, who had interested her ladyship, 
she ordered a present of a gown-piece, and the gentleman factor who was 
entrusted to procure it, some time after sent six yards of cotton stuff not 
worth 2s. in the whole. The woman laid it aside, intending to show it to 
her ladyship on her next visit, but her own death occurred in the mean- 
time. Thus, in every way were her ladyship's benevolent intentions 
frustrated or misapplied, and that ardent attachment to her family which 
had subsisted through so many generations, materially weakened, if 
not totally destroyed, by a mistaken policy towards her people, and an 
undue confidence in those to whose management she committed them, and 
who, in almost every instance, betrayed that confidence, and cruelly abused 
that delegated power. Hence, and hence only, the fearful misery and 
^' destitution in Sutherlandshire." 



LETTER XIII. 

Sir, — In the year 1832, and soon after the events I have been describ- 
ing, an order was issued by Mr. Loch, in the name of the Duke and 
Duchess of Sutherland, that all the small tenants, on both sides of the 
road from Bighouse to Melness (about thirty miles), where their cottages 
were thickly studded, must build new houses, with stone and mortar, 
according to a prescribed plan and specification. The poor people, finding 
their utter inability, in their present condition, to erect such houses 
(which, when finished, would cost £30 to £40 each), got up petitions to 
the proprietors, setting forth their distressed condition, and the impos- 
siVjility of complying with the requisition at present. These petitions they 
supplicated and implored the ministers to sign, well knowing that other- 
wise they had little chance of being attended to ; but these gentlemen 



31 

could be moved by no entreaties, and answered all their applications by a 
contemptuous refusal. The petitions had, therefore, to be forwarded to 
London without ecclesiastical sanction, and, of course, effected nothing. 
The answer returned was, that if they did not immediately begin to build, 
they would be removed next term. The very word removed was enough; 
it brought back to their minds the recollection of former scenes, with all 
their attendant horrore. To escape was impossible, they had no where to 
go ; and in such circumstances they would have consented to any thing, 
even to the making " bricks without straw," like their oppressed proto- 
types of old. 

In the midst of hopeless misery, then, and many of them without a 
shilling in their pockets, did they commence the task of building houses, 
nch as I have mentioned, on the barren spots, and without any security 
( »£ retaining them, even when they were built. The edict wa.«^ law ; 
supplication or remonstrance was in vain; so to it they went, under circum- 
stances such as perhaps building was never carried on before, in a country 
called Christian and civilized. Plans and specifications were published, 
f\nd estimates required by the factors, directing the whole j^roceedings, 
ind, as usual, without consulting the feelings of the poor people, or in- 
quiring into the means they had for carrying them into effect. AH was 
Itustle and competition among masons and mechanics, of whom few resided 
in the country; most of them were strangers; and when they commenced 
work, the people were obliged to feed them, whether they had anything 
theuiselves to eat or not, and to pay them, even if they had to sell the 
last moveable for that purpose. Some of the masons, however, showed 
,'reat lenity, and are still unpaid. Previous to this, in the year 1829, I 
ind my family had been forced away like others, being particularly 
obnoxious to those in authority for sometimes showing an inclination to 
<»pl)ose their tyranny; and therfore we had to be made examples of, to 
frighten the rest, but in 1833 I made a tour to the districts, when the 
building was going on, and shall endeavour to describe a small part of 
what met my eye on that occasion. In one district (and this was a fair 
specimen of all the rest), when the building was going on, I saw fourteen 
different squads of masons at work, with the natives attending them. Old 
L,Tey-headed men, worn down by previous hard.ship and present want, wei*e 
to be seen carryinij stones, and wheeling them and other materials on bar- 
rows, or carrying them on their backs to the buildings, and, with their 
tottering limbs and trembling hands straining to raise the stones, <fec., to 
the walls. The young men also, after toiling all night at sea, endeavour- 
ing for subsistence, instead of rest, were obliged to yield their exhausUxl 
frames to the laboure of the day. Even female labour could not be 
dispensed with ; the strong as well as the weak, the delicate and sickly, 
and (shame to the nature of their oppressors !) even the pregnant, bare- 
footed, and scantily clothed and fed, were obliged to join in these nigged, 
unfeminine lalKjurs, carrying stones, clay, lime, wood, <tc., on their liacks 
or on barrows, their tracks often reddened with the blood from their hands 
and feet, and from hurts received by their awkwai-dnoss in handling the 
lude matenals. In one instance I saw the husband quarrying stones, and 



32 

the wife and children dragging them along in an old cart to the building. 
Such were the building scenes of that period. The poor people had often 
to give the last morsel of food they possessed to feed the masons, and 
subsist on shell-fish themselves when they could get them. The timber 
for their houses was furnished by the factors, and charged about a 'third 
higher than it could be purchased at in any of the neighbouring sea-ports^ 
I spent two melancholy days witnessing these scenes, which are now 
present to my mind, and which I can never forget. This went on for 
several years, in the course of which, many hundreds of houses were 
erected on inhospitable spots, unfit for human residence. It might be 
thought that the design of forcing the people to build such houses, was to 
provide for their comfort and accommodation ; but there was another 
object, which I believe was the only true motive, and that was, to hide 
the misery that prevailed. There had been a great sensation created in 
the public mind, by the cruelties exercised in these districts ; and it was 
thought that a number of neat white houses, ranged on each side of the 
road, would take the eyes of strangers and visitors, and give a practical 
contradiction to the rumours afloat ; hence the poor creatures were forced 
to resort to such means, and to endure such hardships and privations as I 
have described, to carry the scheme into effect. And after they had spent 
their all, and much more than their all, on the erection of these houses^ 
and involved themselves in debt, for which they have been harassed and 
pursued ever since, they are still but whitened tombs ; many of them now 
ten years in existence, and still without proper doors or windows, destitute 
of furniture, and of comfort ; merely providing a lair for a heart-broken, 
squalid, and degenerated race. 



LETTER XIY. 

During the period in which the building was going on, I think in the 
year 1833, Lord Leveson Gower, the present Duke of Sutherland, visited 
the country, and remained a few weeks, during which he had an opportu- 
nity of witnessing the scenes I have described in my last ; and such was 
the impression made on his mind, that he gave public orders that the 
people should not be forced to build according to the specific plan, but be 
allowed to erect such houses as suited themselves. These were glad 
tidings of mercy to the poor people, but they were soon turned to bitter 
disappointment ; for no sooner had his lordship left the country, than Mr. 
Loch or his underlings issued fresh orders for the building to go on as 
before. 

Shortly after this (in July, 1833) his Grace the first (and late) Duke 
of Sutherland, who had been some time in bad health, breathed his last in 
Dunrobin Castle, and was interred with great pomp in the family burying- 
place in the cathedral of Dornoch. The day of his funeral was ordered 
to be kept as a fast-day by all the tenantry, under penalty of the highest 



33 

displeasure of those in authority, though it was just then herring-fishing 
season, wlien much depended on a day. Still this was a minor hardship. 
The next year a project was set on foot, by the same parties who formerly 
^'ot up the expensive family ornaments presented to her Grace, to raise a 
monument to the late Duke. Exactly similiar measures were resorted to, 
to make the small tenantry subscribe, in the midst of all their distresses, 
and with similar results. All who could raise a shilling gave it, and those 
who could not, awaited in terror the consequences of their default. No 
doubt, the Duke deserved the highest posthumous honours from a portion 
of his tenantry — those who had benefitted by the large sums he and the 
Duchess had lavished for their accommodation ; but the poor small ten- 
antry, what had been done for them 1 While the ministers, factoi-s, and 
new tenantry, were rich and luxurious, basking in the sunshine of favour 
and prosperity, the miseries and oppressions of the natives remain unaba- 
ted ; the^ were emphatically in the shade, and certainly had little for 
which to be grateful to those whose abuse of power had brought them to 
such a pass — who had drained their cup of every thing that could sweeten 
life, and left only 

" A mass of sordid lees behind ! " 

Passing the next two years, I now proceed to describe the failure of the 
harvest in 1836, and the consequences to the Highlands generally, and to 
Sutherlaml in particular. In this year the crops all over Britain were 
deficient, having had bad weather for growing and ripening, and still 
worse for gathering in. But in the Highlands they were an entire failure, 
nnd on the untoward spots occupied by the Sutherland small tenants there 
was literally nothing — at least nothing fit for human subsistence; and to 
add to the calamity, the weather had prevented them from securing the 
])€(its, their only fuel ; so that, to their exliausted state from their dispro- 
portionate exertions in building, cold and hunger were now to be super- 
added. The sufferings'of the succeeding winter, endured by the poor 
Highlanders, truly beggar description. Even the herring-fishing had 
failed and consequently their credit in Caithness, which depended on its 
success was at an end. Any little provision they might be able to procure 
was of the most inferior and unwholesome description. It was no uncom- 
mon thing to see people searching among the snow for the frosted potatoes 
to eat, in order to preserve life. As the harvest had been disastrous, so 
the winter was uncommonly boisterous and severe, and consequently little 
could be obtained from the sea to mitigate the calamity. The distress 
rose to such a height as to cause a universal sensation all over the island, 
and a general cry for government interference to save the people from 
death by famine ; and the appeal backed by the clergy of all denomina- 
tions throughout the Highlands, (with the exception of Sutherland) was 
not made in vain. 

Dr. ^M'Lcod of Glasgow was particularly zealous on this ixicasion. He 
took reports from all the parish ministers in the destitute districts, and 
went personally to London to repre^sent the case to government and 
implore aid, and the case was even laid before botli houses of parliament. 

o 



34 

In consequence of these applications and proceedings, money and pro\'- 
sions to a great amount were sent down, and the magistrates and ministers 
entrusted with the distribution of them : and in the ensuing summer, 
vessels were sent to take on board a numl>er of those who were willing to 
emigrate to Australia. Besides this, private subscriptions were entered 
into, and money obtained to a very great amount. Public meetings were 
got up in all the principal cities and towns in Great Britain and Ireland, 
and large funds collected; so that effectual relief was afforded to every 
place that required it, with the single exception of that county which, of 
all others, was in the most deplorable state — the county of Sutherland ! 
The reason of this I will explain presently; but first let me draw the 
reader's attention for a moment to the new circumstances in which the 
Highlands were placed. Failure in the crops in those noithern and north- 
western parts of Scotland was a case of frequent and common occurrence; 
but famine, and solicitations for national aid and charitable relief, were 
something quite new. I will indeavour to account for the change. Pre- 
vious to the " change of tenancy," as the cruel spoliation and expatriation 
of the native inhabitants was denominated, when a failure occured in the 
grain and potato crops, they had recourse to their cattle. Selling a few 
additional head, or an extra score of sheep, enabled them to purchase at the 
sea- ports what grain was wanted. But now they had no cattle to sell ; 
and when the crops totally failed on their spots of barren ground, and 
when, at the same time, the fishing proved unprosperous, they were imme- 
diately reduced to a state of famine ; and hence the cry for relief, which 
as I have mentioned, was so generously responded to. But I would ask 
who were the authors of all this mass of distress 1 Surely the proprietors, 
who, unmindful that "property has its duties as well as its rights," 
brought about this state of things. They in common with other landed 
legislators, enacted the food taxes, causing a competition for land, and 
then encouraged strange adventurers to supersede the natives, and drive 
them out, in order that the whole of the Highlands should be turned into 
a manufactory to make beef and mutton for the English market. And 
when, by these means, they had reduced the natives to destitution and 
famine, they left it to the government and to charitable individuals to 
provide relief ! Language is scarcely adequate to characterize such con- 
duct ; yet these are the great, the noble, and right honourable of the land! 
However, with the exception of my unfortunate native county, relief was 
afforded, though not by those whose right it \vas to afford it. Large quan- 
tities of oatmeal, seed oats, and barley, potatoes, ifec, were brought up and 
forwarded to the North and West Highlands, and distributed among all 
who were in need ; but nothing of all this for the Sutherlanders. Even 
Dr. M'Leod, in all the zeal of his charitable mission, passed from Storno- 
way to the Shetland Islands without vouchsafeing a glance at Sutherland in 
his way. The reason of all this I will now explain. It was constantly 
asserted and reiterated in all places, that there was no occasion for govern- 
ment or other charitable aid to Sutherland, as the noble proprietors would 
themselves take in hand to afford their tenantry ample relief. This story 
was circulated through the newspapers, and repeated by the clergy and 



35 

factors at all public meetings, till the public was quite satisfied on the 
subject. Meantime the wretched people were suffering the most unpar- 
alleled distress; famine had brought their misery to a frightful climax, and 
disease and death had commenced their work ! In their agony they had 
recourse to the ministers, imploring them to represent their case to 
government, that they might partake of the relief afforded to other coun- 
ties : but all in vain ! I am aware that what I here assert is incredible, 
but not less true, that of the whole seventeen parish ministers, not one 
could be moved by the supplications and cries of the famishing wretches 
to take any steps for their relief ! They answered all entreaties with a cold 
refusal, alleging that the proprietors would in their own good time, send 
the necessary relief ; but, so far as I could ever learn, they took no means 
to hasten that relief. They said in their sermons ** that the Lord had a 
controversy with the land for the people's wickedness ; and that in his 
providence, and even in his mercy, he had sent this scourge to bring them 
to repentance," <tc. Some people (wicked people, of course) may think 
such language, in such circumstances, savored more of blasphemy than of 
religious truth. Meantime, the newspapers were keeping up the public 
expectations of the muniticent donations the proprietors were sending. 
One journal had it that £9,000 worth of provisions were on the way ; 
others X8,000, and £7,000, &c. However, the other Highlanders had 
received relief at least two months before anything came to Sutherland. 
At last it did come : the amount of relief, and the manner of its appro- 
priation shall be explained in my next. 



LETTER XV. 

Sir, — In my last I quoted an expression current among the clergy at 
the time of the famine **that God had a controversy with the people for 
their sins," but I contend — and I think my readers in general will agree 
with me — that the poor Sutherlanders were "more sinned against than sin- 
ning." To the aspersions cast upon them by Mr. Loch, in his book (written 
by an interested party, and evidently for a purpose) I beg the public to con- 
trast the im])ortant work by General Stt^wart before mentioned, and draw 
their own conclusions. The truth is that the Sutherlanders were examples 
of almost all the humble virtues ; a simple and uncorrupted, rural, and 
pastoral population : even the unexampled protracted cruelty with which 
they were treated, never stirred them to take wild or lawless revenge. 
During a period of 200 yeais, there had been only three capital convic- 
tions, and very few crimes of any description ; the few that did occur were 
chiefly against the excise laws. But those who coveted the lands, which 
in justice were their patrimony, like Queen Jezebel of old, got false 
witnesses to defame them (in order that a ])retext might be afforded for 
expelling them from the possessions which had been dofi'nded with the 
blood of their forefathers). It was the factors, the ca])italists, and tl.e 



36 

clergy, that had a controversy with the people, and not the Almighty, as 
they blasphemously asserted. The Sutherlanders had always been a 
religious, a devout, and a praying people, and now their oppressors, and 
not Divine Providence, had made them a fasting people. I proceed to 
give some account of that mockery of relief which was so ostentatiously 
paraded before the public in the newspapers, and at public meetings. 

I have already observed that the relief afforded to the Highland districts 
generally, by the government, and by private charity, was not only effec- 
tual in meeting the exigency, but it was hone fide charity, and- was 
forthcoming in time ; while the pittance doled out to the Sutherlanders, 
was destitute of those characteristics. How the poor j^eople passed the 
winter and spring under the circumstances before mention-ed, I must leave 
to the reader's imagination; suffice it to say, that though worn to the bone 
by cold, hunger, and nakedness, the bulk of them still survived. The 
Highlanders are still proverbially tenacious of life. In the latter end of 
April, 1837, when news reached them that the long-promised relief, 
consisting of meal, barley, potatoes, and seed oats, had actually arrived, 
and was to be immediately distributed at Tongue and other stated places, 
the people at once flocked to those places, but were told that nothing 
would be given to any, till they produced a certificate from their parish 
minister that they were proper objects of charity. Here was a new 
obstacle. They had to return and implore those haughty priests for certi- 
ficates, which were frequently withheld from mere caprice, or for some 
alleged offence or lack of homage in the applicant, who if not totally 
refused, had to be humbled in the dust, sickened by delay, and the boon 
only at last yielded to the intercession of some of the more humane of the 
shepherds. Those who were in the fishing trade were peremptorily 
refused. This is the way in which man, religious man, too ! can trifle 
with the distress of his famishing brother. 

The places appointed for distribution were distant from the homes of 
many of the sufferers, so that by the time they had waited on the minis- 
ters for the necessary qualification, and travelled again to places of 
distribution and back again, with what they could obtain, on their backs, 
several days were consumed, and in many cases from 50 to 100 miles 
traversed. And what amount of relief did they receive after all"? From 
7 to 28 lbs. of meal, and seed oats and potatoes in the same proportions; 
and this not for individuals, but for whole families ! In the fields, and 
about the dykes adjoining the places where these pittances were doled out, 
groups of famishing creatures might be seen lying in the mornings (many 
of them having travelled the whole day and night previous), waiting the 
leisure of the factors or their clerks, and no attention was paid to them till 
those gentlemen had breakfasted and dressed, &c.; by which time the day 
was far advanced. 

Several subsequent distributions of meal took place ; but in every new 
case, fresh certificates of continued destitution had to be procured from the 
ministers and elders of the resjiective parishes. This was the kind, and 
quantity, of relief afforded, arid the mode of dispensing it; different indeed 
from what was represented in the glozing falsehoods so industriously 
palmed on public credulity. 



37 

In the month of September, her Grace being then on a visit in the 
country, the following proceedings took place, as reported in the public 
papei-s of the day, which afforded a specimen of groundless assertions, 
clerical sycophancy, and fulsome adulation, for which it might be difficult 
to find a parallel : — 

" The Presbytery of Tongue, at their last meeting, agreed to present the follow- 
ing address to the Duchess of Sutherland. Her Grace being then at Tongue, the 
Presbytery waited on her ; and the address being read by the moderator, she made 
a suitable reply : 

" May it please your Orace. 

* * We, the Presbytery of Tongue, beg leave to approach your Grace with feelings 
of profound respect, and to express our joy at your safe arrival within our bounds. 

*' We have met here this day for the purpose of communicating to your Grace 
the deep sense which we entertain of your kindness during the past season to the 
people under our charge. 

•• When it pleased Providence by an unfavourable harvest to aflBict the Highlands 
of Scotland with a scarcity of bread, and when the clergymen of other districts 
appealed to public charity in behalf of their parishoners, the confidence which we 
placed in your Grace's liberality led us to refrain from making a similar appeal. 

*' When we say that this confidence has been amply realised, we only express the 
feelings of our people ; and participating strongly in these feelings, as we do, to 
withold the expression of them from your Grace, would do injustice alike to our- 
selves and to them. 

" In their name, therefore, as well as in our own, we beg to offer to your Grace 
our warmest gratitude. When other districts were left to the precarious supplies 
of a distant benevolence, your Grace took on yourself the charge of supporting 
your people ; by a constant supply of meal, you not only saved them from famine, 
but enabled them to live in comfort ; and by a seasonable provision of seed, you 
were the means, under God, of securing to them the blessing of the present abun- 
dant harvest. 

" That Almighty God may bless your grace, — that he may long spare you to be 
a blessing to your people, — and that he may finally give you the inheritance which 
is incorruptible, undetiled, and that fadeth not away, is the prayer of 

" May it please your Grace, 

"The Members of the Presbytery of Tonouk. 

(Signed) "HUGH MACKENZIE, iforf«ra<or." 

The evident tendency of this document was to mislead her Grace, and 
by deluding the public, to allay anxiety, stifle inquiry, and conceal the 
truth. However, her Grace made a " suitable reply," and great favour 
was shown to the adulatore. About a year before, the very clergynuin 
whose signature is appended to this address exchanged part of his glebe for 
the lands of Dinsad and Inshverry; but in consenting to the change, ho 
made an express condition that the present occupiers, amounting to eight 
families, should be "removed," and accordingly they were driven out in 
a body! To this gentleman, then, tlie honour is due of having consum- 
mated the Sutherlanci ejections; and hence he was admirably fitted for 
signing the address. I must not omit to notice **the abundant harvest" 
said to succeed the famine. The family "allotments " only afforded the 
sowing of from a half firlot to two or three firlots of oats, and a like 
quantity of barley, which, at an average in good seasons, yielded about 



38 

three times the quantity sown ; in bad years little or nothing ; and even 
in the most favourable cases, along with their patches of potatoes, could 
not maintain the people more than three months in the year. The crop 
succeeding the famine was anything but an abundant one to the poor 
people ; they had got the seed too late, and the season was not the most 
favourable for bringing it to even ordinary perfection. Hence, that 
"abundance" mentioned in the address was like all the rest of its 
groundless assumption. But I have still to add to the crowning iniquity 
— the provision distributed in charity had to he paid for ! but this point 
I must postpone till my next. 



LETTER XYI. 

Sir, — It would require a closer acquaintance with the recent history of 
Sutherlandshire than I am able to communicate, and better abilities than 
mine, to convey to the reader an adequate idea of the mournful contrast 
between the former comfortable and independent state of the people and 
that presented in my last. They were now generally speaking, become a 
race of pauj^ers, trembling at the very looks of their oppressors, objects of 
derision and mockery to the basest underlings, and fed by the scanty hand 
of those who had been the means of reducing them to their present state ! 
To their capability of endurance must, in a great measure, be ascribed 
their surviving in any considerable numbers, the manifold inflictions they 
had to encounter. During the spring and summer many of the young 
and robust of both sexes left the country in quest of employment ; some 
to the neighbouring county of Caithness, but most of them went to the 
Lowlands, and even into England, to serve as cattle drivers, labourers and 
in other menial occupations. No drudgery was too low for their accep- 
tance, nor any means left untried, by which they could sustain life in the 
most frugal manner, and anything earned above this was carefully trans- 
mitted to their sulTering relations at home. When harvest commenced 
they were rather better employed, and then the object was to save a little 
to pay the rent at the approaching term; but there was another use they 
had never thought of, to which their hard and scanty earnings had to be 
applied. 

Not long after the termination of the Duchess' visit (during which the 
address given in my last was presented), I think just about two months 
after, the people were astonished at seeing placards posted up in all public 
places, warning them to prepare to pay their rents, and also the meal, 
potatoes, and seed oats and barley they had got during the spring and 
summer ! This was done in the name of the Duchess, by the orders of 
Mr. Loch and his under-factors. Ground-otfieers were dispatched in all 
directions to explain and enforce this edict, and to inform the small 
tenants that their rents would not be received till the accounts for the 
provisions were first settled. This was news indeed ! — astonishing intelli- 



o9 

geiice this — that the pitiful mite of relief, obtained with so much labour 
and ceremony, and doled out by pampered underlings with more than 
the usual insolence of charity, was after all to be paid for! After govern- 
ment aid and private charity, so etfectually afforded to other Highland 
districts, had been intercepted by ostentatious i)romises of ample relief 
from the bounty of her Grace; after the clergy had lauded the Almighty, 
and her Grace no less, for that bounty] the poor creatures were to be 
concussed into paying for it, and at a rate too, considerably above the 
current prices. I know this, to persons unacquainted with Highland 
tyranny, extortion and opression, will appear incredible ; but I am able 
to substantiate its truth by clouds of living witnesses. 

The plan adopted deserves particular notice. The people were told, • 
** their rents would not be received till the provisions were first paid for." 
By this time those who had procured a little money by labouring elsewhere, 
were returning with their savings to enable their relatives to meet the rents 
and this was thought a good time to get the " charity " paid up. Accord- 
ingly when the people, as usual, waited upon the factor with the rent 
they were told distinctly that the meal, tkc, must be paid first, and that 
if any lenity was shown, it would be for the rent, but none for the provi- 
sions ! The meaning of this scheme seems to be, that by securing pay- 
ment for the provisions in the first instance, they would avoid the odium 
of pursuing for what was given as charity, knowing that they could at any 
time enforce payment of the rent, by the usual summary means to which 
they were in the habit of resorting. Some laid down their money at once, 
and the price of all they had got was then deducted, and a receipt handed 
to them for the balance, in part of their rent. Others seeing this, remon- 
strated and insisted on paying their rent first, and the provisions after- 
wards, if they must be paid ; but their pleading went for nothing, their 
money was taken in the same manner, (no receipts in any case being given 
fur the payment of the "charity," and they were driven contemptuously 
from the counting-table. 

A few refused to pay, especially unless receipts were granted for the 
" charity," and returned home with the money, but most of them were 
induced by the terror of their families to carry it back and submit like the 
rest. A smaller portion, however, still continued refractory, and alternate 
threats and wheedlings were uscil by the underlings to make these comply; 
so that gradually all were made to pay the last shilling it was possible for 
them to raise. Some who had got certificates of destitution being unable, 
fiom age or illness, to undergo the fatigue of waiting on the factoi-s for 
their portion, or of carrying it home, had to obtain the charitable assistance 
of some of their abler fellow sufferers for that purpose, but when there 
was any difficulty about tlie payment, the carriers were miule accountable 
the same as if they had been the receivers ! Hitherto, the money collected 
at the church doors, had been divided among the i>oor, but this year it 
was withheld ; in one parish to my personal knowledge (and as far as my in- 
formation goes the refusal was general), the parish minist- them 
tjiat they could not exiM'ct to get meal and money Inith, si - that 
the deficient payments for the provisions bad to be made up from the 



40 

church collections. Whether this was the truth or not, it served for a 
pretext to deprive the poor of this slender resource ; for, ever since — now 
four years — they have got nothing. This is one among many subjects of 
enquiry. Verily there is much need for light to be thrown on this corner of 
the land! A rev. gentleman from the west, whose failing it was to trans- 
gress the ten commandments, had, through some special favour, obtained 
a parish in Sutherlandshire, and thinking probably that charity should 
begin at home, had rather misapplied the poor's money which was left 
in his hand, for on his removal to another parish, there was none of it 
forthcoming. The elders of his new parish being aware of this, refused 
to entrust him with the treasurership, and had the collection-money kept 
in a locked box in the church, but when it amounted to some pounds, 
the box was broken up and the money was taken out. The minister 
had the key of the church. 

Owing to the complete exhaustion of the poor people's means in the 
manner I have been describing, the succeeding year (1838) found them 
in circumstances little better than its predecessor. What any of them 
owed in Caithness and elsewhere, they had been unable to pay, and con- 
sequently their credit was at an end, and they were obliged to live from 
hand to mouth ; besides, this year was unproductive in the fishing, as the 
years since have also been. 

In the earlier part of this correspondence, I have treated of the large 
sums said to have been laid out on improvements, (roads, bridges, inns, 
churches, manses, and mansions for the new tenants); but I have yet to 
mention a poll-tax called road money, amounting to 4s. on every male of 
18 years and upwards, which was laid on about the year l^>10, most 
rigorously exacted, and continues to be levied on each individual in the 
most summary way, by seizure of any kind of moveables in or about the 
dwelling till the money is paid. To some poor families this tax come to 
£1 and upwards every year, and be it observed that the capitalist possess- 
ing 50,000 acres, only pays in the same proportion, and his shepherds are 
entirely exempt ! Those of the small tenantry or their families, who may 
have been absent for two or three years, on their return are obliged to pay 
up their arrears of this tax, the same as if they had been all the time at 
home ; and payment is enforced by seizure of the goods of any house in 
which they may reside. The reader will perceive that the laws of Suther- 
landshire are difierent, and difierently administered, from what they are 
in other parts of the country — in fact those in authority do just what they 
please, whether legal or otherwise, none daring to question what they do. 
Notwithstanding this burdensome tax, the roads, as far as the small 
tenants' interests are concerned, are shamefully neglected, while every 
attention is paid to suit the convenience and pleasure of the ruling 
parties and the new tenantry, by bringing roads to their very doors. 



41 
LETTER XVII. 

Sir, — In my last letter I mentioned something about the withliolding 
and misappropriation of the money collected at church doors for the poor ; 
but let it be understood that notwithstanding the iniquitous conduct of 
persons so acting, the loss to the poor was not very great. The High- 
lander abhors to be thought a pauper, and the sum afforded to each of the 
few who were obliged to accept it, varied from Is. 6d. to 5s. a year : 
the congregations being much diminished, as I had before occasion to 
observe. It is no wonder, then, that the poor, if at all able, flee from 
such a country and seek employment and relief in the various maritime 
towns in Scotland, where they arrive broken down and exhausted by 
previous hardship — meatless and moneyless ; and when unable to labour, 
or unsuccessful in obtaining work, they become a burden to a community 
who have no right to bear it, while those who have reduced them to that 
state escape scot-free. Any person acquainted generally with the 
statistics of pauperism in Scotland will, I am sure, admit the correct- 
ness of these statments. The Highland landlords formerly counted 
their riches by the number of their vassals or tenants, and were anxious 
to retain them ; hence the poem of Burns, addressed to the Highland 
lairds, and signed Beelzebub, by which the ever selfish policy of those 
gentlemen is celebrated in their endeavouring, by force, to restrain 
emigration to Canada. But since then the case is reversed. First the 
war, and then the food monopoly has made raising of cattle for the 
English markets, the more eligible speculation, against which the boasted 
feelings of clanship, as well as the claims of common humanity have 
entirely lost their force. Regarding the poll-tax or road money, it is also 
necessary to state, that in every case when it is not paid on the appointed 
day, expenses are arbitrarily added (though no legal process has been 
entered) which the defaulter is obliged to submit to without means of 
redress. There are no tolls in the county ; the roads, itc, being kept up 
by this poll-tax, paid by the small tenants for the exclusive benefit of 
those who have superseded them. In this way very large sums are 
screwed out of the people, even the poorest, and from the absentees, if 
they ever return to reside. So that if the population are not extirpated 
by wholesale, a considerable portion of the sums laid out on improvements 
will ultimately return to the proprietors, from a source whence, of all 
others, they have no shadow of right to obtain it. 

I have now arrived at an important event in my narrative; the death 
of an exalted personage to whom I have often had occasion to refer — the 
Duchess-Countess of Sutherland. 

This lady who had, during a long life, maintained a high position in 
courtly and aristocratic society, and who was possessed of many great 
qualities, was called to her account on the 29th of January, 1839, in the 
74th year of her age. Her death took place in London, and her bo<ly 
was conveyed to Sutherland by way of Al^erdeen, and finally intoiTcd with 
great pomp in the family vault, beside the late Duke, her husband, in the 
Cathedral of Dornoch. The funeral was attended to Blackwell by many 



42 

of the first nobility in England, and afterwards by her two grandsons, 
Lord Edward Howard, and the Honourable Francis Egerton, and by her 
friend and confidential servant, Mr. Loch, with their respective suites. 
The procession was met by Mr. Sellar, Mr. Young, and many of her 
under facto i-s and subordinate retainers, together with the whole body of 
the new occupiers, while the small tenantry brought up the rear of the 
solemn cavalcade. She Wcis buried with the rites of the Church of Eng- 
land. Mr. George Gunn, under-factor, was the only gentleman native of 
the county who took a promiaent part in the management of the funeral 
and who certainly did not obtain that honour by the exercise of extraor- 
dinary virtues towards his poor coimtryuien : the rest were all those who 
had taken an active part iu the scenes of injustice and cruelty which I 
have been endeavouring to represent to the reader, in the previous part of 
ray narrative. The trump of fame has been seldom made to sound 
a louder blast, than that which echoed through the island, with the virtues 
of the Duchess; every periodical, esjiecially in Scotland, was for a time 
literally crammed with them, but in those extravagent encomiums few 
or none of her native tenantry could honestly join. That she had 
many great and good qualities none will attempt to deny, but at the same 
time, under the sanction or guise of her name and authority, were con- 
tinually perpetrated deeds of the most atrocious character, and her people's 
wrongs still remain unredressed. Her severity was felt, perhaps, far 
beyond her own intentions ; while her benevolence was intercepted by the 
instruments she employed, and who so unworthily enjoyed her favour and 
confidence. Her favours were showered on aliens and strangers ; while 
few, indeed, were the drops which came to the relief of those from whom 
she sprung, and whose coeval, though subordinate right to their native 
soil, had been recognised for centuries. Peace to her name ! I am sorry 
it is not in my power to render unqualified praise to her character. 

The same course of draining the small tenants, under one pretext or 
another, continued for some time after her Grace's decease; but exactions 
must terminate, when the means of meeting them are exhausted. You 
cannot starve a hen, and make her lay eggs at the same time. Tlie factors, 
having taken all, had to make a virtue of necessity, and advise the Duke 
to an act of high-sounding generosity — to remit all the arrears due by the 
small tenantry. Due proclamation was made of his Grace's benevolent 
intentions, with an express condition annexed, that no future arrears 
would be allowed, and that all future defaulters should be instantly 
removed, and their holdings (not let to tenants, but) handed over to their 
next neighbour, and failing him, to the next again, and so on. This edict 
was proclaimed under the authority of his Grace and the factors, in the 
year 1840, about a twelvemonth after the Duchess's decease, and contin- 
ues the law of the estate as regards the unfortunate natives, or small 
tenantiy as they are generally called. 

It will be perceived that I have now brought my narrative to an end : 
I may, however, with your permission, trouble you with a few remarks, 
in your next publication, by way of conclusion. 



43 
LETTER XVII 1. 

Sir, — In concluding my narrative, allow me to express — or rather to 
declare my inability to express — the deep sense I entertain of your kind- 
ness in permitting me to occupy so large a space of your columns, in an 
attempt to pourtray the wrongs of my country. I trust these feelings 
will be participated by those whose cause you have thus enabled me to 
bring before the public, as well as by all benovelent and enlightened 
minds, wlio abhor oppression, and sympathize vriih its victims. I am 
conscious that my attempt has been a feeble one. In many cases my 
jiowers of language fell short, and in others I abstained from going to the 
full extent, when I was not quite prepared with proof, or when the deeds 
of our oppressors were so horrible in their nature and consequence as to 
exceed belief. 

Though nowhere in the North Highlands have such atrocities been 
practiced in the wholesale way they have been in Sutherland, yet the 
same causes are producing like efiects, more or less generally in most, if 
not all, the surrounding counties. Sutherland has served as a uiodel for 
successfully "clearing" the land of its aboriginal inhabitants, driving them 
to the sea shore, or into the sea, — to spots of barren moors — to the wilds 
of Canada — and to Australia ; or if unable to go so far, to spread themselves 
over Lowlands, in quest of menial employment among strangers, to whom 
their language seems barbarous, who are already overstocked with native 
labourers, besides those continnally pouring in from Ireland. No wonder 
the Highland lairds combine to resist a government inquiry, which would 
lead to an exposure of their dark and daring deeds, and render a system 
of etticient poor laws (not sham, like those now existing) inevitable. 
Were all the paupers they have created, by "removing" the natives and 
substituting strangers and cattle in their places, enabled to claim that 
support from the soil they are justly entitled to, what would become of 
their estates? 

Hence their alarm and anxiety to stifle all inquiry but that conducted 
l)y themselves, their favourites and retainere, and their ever-subservient 
auxiliaries, the parochial clergy. Will these parties expose themselves by 
tracing the true causes of Highland destitution? Oh, no! What they 
' annot ascribe to Providence, they will lay to the charge of the "indolent, 
improvident and intractible charact<ir," they endeavour to cover their own 
foul deeds by ascribing to their too passive victims. They .say "the High- 
landers would pay no rent" A falsehood on the very face of it Were 
not the tenants' principal effects in cattle, the article of all others most 
onvenient of arrest? "The Highlanders were unteachable, ejiemies to 
innovation or improvement, and incorrigibly opposed to the will of their 
sui>erior8." Where are the proofs? What methods were taken to 
instruct them in improved husbandry, or any other improvements 1 
Xone ! They were driven out of the land of their fathers, causelessly, 
ruelly, and recklessly. Let their enemies say what have been their 
rimes of revenge under the most inhmnan provocation? Where are 
the records in our courts of law, or in the statistics of crime, of the fell 



44 

deeds laid to the charge of the expatriated Highlander ? They are 
nowhere to be found, except in the groundless accusations of the 
oppressors, who calculating on their simplicity, their patient, moral, and 
religious character, which even the base conduct of their clergy could 
not pervert ; drove them unresisting, like sheep to the slaughter, or like 
mute fishes, unable to scream, on whom any violence could be practiced 
with impunity. It was thought an illiterate j^eople, speaking a language 
almost unknown to the public press, could not make their wrongs be heard 
as they ought to be, through the length and breadth of the land. To 
give their wrongs a tongue — to implore inquiry by official, disinterested 
parties into the cause of mal-practices which have been so long going on^ 
so as if possible to procure some remedy in future — has been my only 
motive for availing myself of your kindness to throw a gleam of light on 
Highland misery, its causes and its consequences. And I cannot too 
earnestly implore all those in any authority, who take an interest in the 
cause of humanity, to resist that partial and close-conducted, sham inquiry 
to which interested parties would have recourse to screen themselves from 
public odium, and save their pockets. Some of these parties are great, 
wealthy, and influential. Several of them have talent, education, and 
other facilities for perverting what they cannot altogether suppress, making 
" the worst appear the better reason," and white- washing their blackest 
deeds — therefore, I say, beware ! They want now a government grant, 
forsooth, to take away the redundant population ! There is no redundant 
population but black cattle and sheep, and their owners, which the lairds 
have themselves introduced ; and do they want a grant to rid them of 
these 1 Verily, no ! Their misdeeds are only equalled by their shame- 
less impudence to propose such a thing. First, to ruin the people and 
make them paupers, and when their wrongs and miseries have made the 
very stones cry out, seek to get rid of them at the public expense ! Insolent 
proposition ! " Contumelious their humanity." No doubt there have 
been some new churches built, but where are the congregations 1 Some 
schools erected, but how can the children of parents steeped in poverty 
profit by them ^ The clergy say they dispense the bread of life, but if 
they do so, do they give it freely — do they not sell it for as much as they 
can get, and do the dirty work of the proprietors, instead of the behests 
of him they pretend to serve 1 Did this precious article grow on any lands 
which the proprietors could turn into sheep walks, I verily believe they would 
do so, and the clergy would sanction the deed ! They and the proprietors 
think the natives have no right to any of God's mercies, but what they 
dole out in a stinted and miserable charity. Mr. Dempster of Skibo, the 
orator and a])ologist of the Highland lairds, says he "keeps two permanent 
soup-kitchens on his estate;" if this were true (as I have reason to believe 
it is not), what is to be inferred but that the wholesome ruin inflicted on 
the natives has rendered such a degrading expedient necessary. Their 
forefathers, a stalwart and athletic race needed no soup-kitchens, nor 
would their progeny, if they had not been inhumanely and unjustly 
treated. Mr. Loch says in his work, that the Sutherlanders were "in a 
state of nature." Well ; he and his coadjutors have done what they could 



45 

to put them in an unnatural state — a state from which it would take an 
age to reclaim them. I admit there was great need of improvement in 
Sutherland fifty years ago, as there was at that time in the Lothiaiis and 
elsewhere: but where, except in the Highlands, do we find general expul- 
sion and degradation of the inhabitants resorted to by way of improvement? 
But Mr. Loch has improved — if not in virtue, at least in station — and 
become a great man and a legislator, from very small beginnings; he and 
his coadjutors have waxed fat on the miseries of their fellow-creatures, 
and on the animals they have substituted for human beings. Well, I 
would not incur their responsibility for all their grandeur and emoluments. 
jNIr. Demi)ster has improved, and his factor from being a kitchen boy, has 
become a very thriving gentleman. These are the kind of improvements 
vhich have taken place, and all would go merrily if they could get 
entirely rid of the small tenents, "the redundant population," by a grant 
of public money. A ledundant population in an extensively ex|>orting 
countiy ! This is Irish political economy. The same cause (the food 
taxes) is in operation in that unhappy country, and producing similar 
results; but the Irish do not always bear it so tamely; a little Lynch law, 
a few extra-judicial executions is now and then administered by way of 
example. This, however, is a wrong mode of proceeding, and one which 
I trust my countrymen will never imitate : better suff*er than commit a 
crime. No system of poor law in the Highlands would be of any avail, 
but one that would confer settlement on every persons born in the 
PARISH. The lairds will evade every other, and to save their pockets 
would be quite unscrupulous as to the means. They could easily resort 
again to their burning and hunting, but a settlement on the English plan 
would oblige them either to support the paui>ers they have made, or send 
them away at their own expense. This would be bare justice, and in my 
humble opinion nothing short of it will be of any avail. Comparatively 
few of the sufierers would now claim the benefit of such settlements; the 
:;i-eater part of them have already emigrated, and located elsewhere, and 
would not fancy to come back as paupers whatever tlieir right might be. 
But there are still too many groaning and pining away in helpless and 
hopeless destitution in Sutherland, and in the surrounding counties, and 
I have reason to know that the West Highlands are much in the same 
situation. There is much need, then, for official inquiry, to prevent this 
mass of human misery from accumulating, as well as to afford some hope 
of relief to pnsent sufferers. I have now made an end for the present ; 
but should any contradiction appear, or any new event of importance to 
my countrymen occur, I shall claim your kind indulgence to resume the 
pen. 



46 
LETTER XIX. 

Sir, — I am glad to find that some of my countrymen are coming forward 
with communications to your paper confirming my statements, and expres- 
sing that gratitude we ought all deeply to feel for the opportunity you have 
»fibrded of bringing our case before the public, by so humble an instru- 
ment as myself. 

Nothing, I am convinced, but fear of further persecution, prevents many 
more from writing such letters, and hence you need not wonder if some of 
those you receive are anonymous. They express a wish, which from 
various sources of information, I am inclined to think general, that my 
narrative should appear, as it now does, in the form of a pamphlet, and 
that my own particular case should form an appendage to it. I had no- 
intention originally of bringing my particular case and family sufterings 
before the public, but called on, as I am, it appears a duty to the public, 
as well as myself, to give a brief account of it, lest withholding it might 
lead to suspicion as to my motives and character. 

I served an apprenticeship in the mason trade to my father, and on 
coming to man's estate I married ray present wife, the partner of my for- 
tunes, most of which have been adverse, and she, the weaker vessel, has 
largely partaken of my misfortunes in a life of suflTering and a ruined con- 
stitution. Our marriage took place in 1818. My wife was the daughter 
of Charles Gordon, a man well known and highly esteemed in the parish 
of Farr, and indeed throughout the county, for his religious and moral 
character. 

For some years I followed the practice of going south during the sum- 
mer months for the purpose of improving in my trade and obtaining better 
wages, and returning in the winter to enjoy the society of my family and 
friends ; and, also, to my grief, to witness the scenes of devastation that 
were going on, to which, in the year 1820, my worthy father-in-law fell a 
victim. He breathed his last amid the scenes I have described, leaving 
six orphans in a state of entire destitution to be provided for ; for he had 
lost his all, in common with the other ejected inhabitants of the county. 
This helpless family now fell to my care, and in order to discharge my 
duty to them more eflfectually, I wished to give up my summer excursions^ 
and settle and pursue my business at home. 

T, therefore, returned from Edinburgh in the year 1822, and soon began 
to find employment, undertaking mason work by estimate, &c., and had I 
possessed a less independent mind and a more crouching disposition, I 
might perhaps have remained. But stung with the oppression and injus- 
tice prevailing around me, and seeing the contrast my country exhibited 
to the state of the Lowlands, I could not always hold my peace ; hence I 
soon became a marked man, and my words and actions were carefully 
watched for an opportunity to make an example of me. After I had 
baflled many attempts, knowing how they were set for me, my powerful 
enemies at last succeeded in effecting my ruin after seven years' labour in 
the pious work ! If any chose to say I owed them money, they had no 
more to do than summon me to court, in which the factor was judge» 



47 

a decreet, right or wrong, was sure to issue. Did any owe me money, it 
was quite optional whether they paid me or not, they well knew I could 
obtain no legal redress. 

In the year 1827, I was summoned for .£5 8s,, which I had previously 
paid [in this case the factor was both i)ursuer and judge!] : I defended, 
and pnxluced receipts and other vouchera of payment having been made ; 
all wont for nothing ! The factor, pursuer and judge, commenced the 
following dialogue: — 

Judge — Well, Donald, do you owe this money ? 

Donald — I would like to see the pursuer before I would enter into any 
defences. 

Judge — I'll pursue you. 

Dimcdd — I thought you were my judge, sir. 

Judge — I'll both pursue and judge you — did you not promise me on a 
former occasion that you would pay this debt ? 

Donald — No, sir. 

Judge — John M*Kay (constable) seize the defender. 

I was accordingly collared like a criminal, and kept a prisoner in an 
adjoining room for some honrs, and afterwards placed again at the bar, 
when the conversation continued. 

Judge — Well, Donald, what have you got to say now, will you pay the 
money 1 

Donald — Just the same sir, as before you imprisoned me; I deny the 
debt. 

Judge — Well, Donald, you are one of the damn'dest rascals in exist- 
once, but if you have the sum pursued for between heaven and hell, I'll 
make you pay it, ivJiatever receipts you may hold, and I'll get you removed 
from the estate. 

Donald — Mind, sir, you are in a magisterial capacity. 

Judge — I'll let you know that — (with another volley of execrations.) 

Donald — Sir, your conduct disqualifies you for your office, and under 
the protection of the law of the land, and in presence of this court, I put 
you to defiance. 

I was then ordered from the bar, and the case continued undecided. 
Steps were, however, immediately taken to put the latter threat — my 
removal — my banishment ! — into execution. 

Determined to leave no means untried to obtain deliverance, I prei)ared 
an humble memorial in my own name, and that of the helpless orphans, 
whose protector I was, and had it transmitted to the Marquis and Mar- 
chioness of Stafford, praying for an investigation. In consequence of this 
on the very term day, on which I had l>een ordered to remove, I received 
a verbal message from one of the under-factors, that it was the noble pro- 
prietor's pleasure that I should retain jiosseshion, repair my houses and 
provide my fuel as usual, until Mr. Loch should come to Sutherlandshire, 
and then my case would be investigated. On this announcement Upcom- 
ing known to my opponent, he became alarmed, and the parish minister 
no less so, that the man he feasted with was in danger of being disgracetl: 



48 

every iron was therefore put in the fire, to defeat and ruin Donald for his 
presmnption in disputing the will of a factor, and to make him an example 
to deter others from a similar rebellion. 

The result proved how weak a just cause must prove in Sutherland, or 
anywhere against cruel despotic factors and graceless ministers ; my case 
was judged and decided before Mr. Loch left London! I, however, got 
Jeddart justice, for on that gentleman's arrival, 1 was brought before him 
for examination, though, I had good reason to know, my sentence had 
been pronounced in London six weeks before, and everything he said 
confirmed what I had been told. I produced the receipts and other docu- 
ments, and evidence, which proved fully the statements in my memorial 
and vindicated my character apparently to his satisfaction. He dismissed 
me courteously, and in a soothing tone of voice bade me go home and 
make myself easy, and before he left the country he would let me know 
the result. I carried home the good news to my wife, but her fears, her 
dreams, and forebodings were not so easily got over, and the event proved 
that her apprehensions were too well founded, for on the 20th October, 
1830, about a month after the investigation by Mr. Loch, the concluding 
scene took place. 

On that day a messenger with a party of eight men following entered my 
dwelling (I being away about forty miles off at work), about 3 o'clock just 
as the family were rising from dinner; my wife was seized with a fearful 
panic at seeing the fulfilment of all her worst forebodings about to take 
place. The party allowed no time for parley, but having put out the 
family with violence, proceeded to fling out the furniture, bedding, and 
other effects in quick time, and after extinguishing the fire, pi-oceeded to 
nail up the doors and windows in the face of the helpless woman, with a 
sucking infant at her breast, and three other children, the eldest under 
eight years of age, at her side. But how shall I describe the horrors of 
that scene 1 Wind, rain and sleet were ushering in a night of extraor- 
dinary darkness and violence, even in that inclement region. My wife 
and children, after remaining motionless a while in mute astonishment at 
the ruin which had so suddenly overtaken them, were compelled to seek 
refuge for the night under some neighbour's roof, but they found every 
door shut against them ! Messengers had been dispatched warning all 
the surrounding inhabitants, at the peril of similar treatment, against 
affording shelter, or assistance, to wife, child, or animal belonging to 
Donald M'Leod. The poor people, well aware of the rigour with which 
such edicts were carried into execution, durst not afford my distressed 
family any assistance in such a night as even an "enemy's dog " might 
have expected shelter. After spending most part of the night in fruitless 
attempts to obtain the shelter of a roof or hovel, my wife at last returned 
to collect some of her scattered furniture, and erect with her own hands 
a temporary shelter against the walls of her late comfortable residence, 
but even this attempt proved in vain; the wind dispersed her materials as 
fast as she could collect them, and she was obliged to bide the pelting of 
the pitiless storm with no covering but the frowning heavens, and no 
sounds in her ears but the storm, and the cries of her famishing children. 



49 

Death seemed to be staring them in the face, for by remaining where 
they were till morning, it was next to impossible even the strongest of 
them could survive, and to travel any distance amid the wind, rain, and 
darkness, in that rugged district, seemed to afibrd no prospect but that of 
death by falliflg over some of the cliffs or precipices with which they were 
surrounded, or even into the sea, as many others had done before. 



LETTER XX. 

Sir, — Before proceeding to detail the occurrences of that memorable 
night in which my wife and children were driven from their dwelling, it 
seems necessary to guard against any misconception that might arise from 
my rather incredible statement, that the factor (whose name I omit for 
obvious reasons) was both pursuer and judge. 

The pretended debt had been paid, for which payment I hold a receipt, 
but the person represented it as still due, and the factor advanced the 
amount, issued the summons, ttc, and proceeded in court in the manner 
I described in my last. But to proceed with my narrative. 

The only means left my wife seemed to be the choice of perishing with 
her children where she was, or of making some perilous attempt to reach 
distant human habitations where she might hope for shelter. Being a 
woman of some resolution, she determined on the latter course. Buckling 
up her children, including the one she had hitherto held at her breoift^ in 
the best manner she could, she left them in charge of the eldest (now a 
soldier in the 78th regiment), giving them such victuals as she could 
collect, and prepared to take the road for Caithness, fifteen miles off, in 
such a night and by such a road as might have appalled a stout heart of 
the other sex ! And for a long while she had the cries of her children, 
whom she had slender hopes of seeing again alive, sounding in her ears. 
This was too much ! No wonder she has never been the same pei*son 
since. She had not proceeded many miles when she met with a good 
Samaritan, and acquaintance, of the name of Donald M'Donald, who 
disregarding the danger he incurred, opened his door to her, refreshed 
and consoled her, and (still under the cover of night) accompanied her to 
the dwelling of William Innes, Esq., of Sandside, dtitlmess, and through 
his influence, that gentleman took her under his protection, and gave her 
permission to occupy an empty house of his at Armidalo (a sheep farm h 
held of the Sutherland family), only a few miles from the dwelling she h* 
been turned out of the day l)efore. On arriving there she was oblige 
take some rest for her exhausted fraaae, notwithstanding the hoi 
suspense she was in as to the fate of her children. 

At this time I was working in Wick, and on that night had laglance 
under such great uneasiness and ion of something wrong . of my 

that I could get no rest, and at \. i uiined to set out and sent from 

fared with my family, and late in the evening overtook my wifr 



50 

benevolent conducter proceeding from Sandside. After a brief recital of 
the events of the previous night, she implored me to leave her and seek 
the children, of whose fate she was ignorant. At that moment I was 
in a fit mood for a deed that would have served as a future warning to 
Highland tyrants, but the situation of my imploring wife, who suspected 
my intention, and the hope of saving my children, stayed my hand, and 
delayed the execution of justice on the miscreants, till they shall have 
appeared at a higher tribunal. 

I made the best of my way to the place near our dwelling where the 
children were left, and to my agreeable surprise, found tliem alive; the 
eldest boy in pursuance of his mother's instructions, had made great exer- 
tions, and succeeded in obtaining for them temporary shelter. He took 
the infant on his back, and the other two took hold •of him by the kilt^ 
and in this way they travelled in darkness, through rough and smooth, 
bog and mire, till they arrived at a grand-aunt's house, when, finding the 
door open they bolted in, and the boy advancing to his astonished aunt, 
laid his infant burden in her lap, without saying a word, and proceeding 
to unbuckle the other two, he placed them before the fire without waiting 
for invitati9n. The goodman here rose, and said he must leave the house 
and seek a lodging for himself, as he could not think of turning the 
children out, and yet dreaded the ruin threatened to any that would 
harbour or shelter them, and he had no doubt his house would be watched 
to see if he should transgress against the order. His wife, a pious woman, 
upbraided him with cowardice, and declared that if there was a legion of 
devils watching her she would not put out the children or leave the house 
either. So they got leave to remain till I found them next day, but the 
man impelled by his fears, did go and obtain a lodging two miles ofil I 
now brought the children to their mother, and set about collecting my 
little furniture and other effects which had been damagedj.by exposure to 
the weather, and some of it lost or destroyed. I brought what I thought 
worth the trouble, to Armidale, and having thus secured them and seen 
the family under shelter, I began to cast about to see how they were to 
live, and here I found troubles and difiiculties besetting us on every side. 

I had no fear of being able by my work to maintain the family in com- 
mon necessaries, if we could get them for money, but one important 
necessary, fuel, we could scarce at all obtain, as nobody would venture 
to sell or give us peats (the only fuel used), for fear of the factors; but at 
last it was contrived that they would allow us to take them by stealth, and 
Jinder cover of night ! 

' My employment obliging me to be often from home, this laborious 
f'k fell to the lot of my poor wife. The winter came on with more 
^ ®^> its usual severity, and often amidst blinding, suffocating drifts, and 
^/^^'ests unknown in the lowlands, had this poor, tenderly brought up 
^ f™^n to toil through snow, wind, and rain, for miles, with a burden of 
DU e\t^ her back ! Instances, however, were not few of the kind assis- 
th^ ^Vl^ neighbours endeavouring by various ways to mitigate her hard 

^ PJ ^*irh, of course, all by stealth lest they should incur the vengeance 
sounds m-'^^^^^^ 



During the winter and following spring, every means was used to induce 
Mr. Innes to withdraw his protection and turn us out of the house ; so 
that I at last determined to take steps for removing myself and family 
for ever from those scenes of persecution and misery. With this view, in 
the latter end of spring I went to Edinburgh, and found employment, 
intending when I had saved as nmch as would cover the expenses, to bring 
the family away. As soon as it was known that I was away, our enemies 

recommenced their work. Mr. , a gentleman, who fattened on the 

spoils of the poor in Sutherland, and who is now pursuing the same course 
on the estates of Sir John Sinclair in Caithness ; this manager and factor 
bounced into my house one day quite unexpectedly, and began abusing 
my wife, and threatened her if she did not instantly remove, he would 
take steps that would astonish her, the nature of which she would not 
know till they fell upon her, adding that he knew Donald M'Leod was now 
in Edinburgh, and could not assist her in making resistance. The poor 
woman, knowing she had no mercy to expect, and fearing even for her 
life, removed %\dth her family and little effects to my mother's house which 
stood near the parish church, and was received kindly by her. There she 
ho|)ed to find shelter and repose for a short time, till I should come and 
take her and the family away, and this being the week of the sacrament, 
she was anxious to partake of that ordinance in the house where her fore- 
fathers had worshipped, before she bade it farewell for ever. But on the 
Thursday previous to that solemn occasion, the factor again terrified her 
by his appearance, and alarmed my mother to such an extent that my 
poor family had again to turn out in the night, and had they not a more 
powerful friend, they would have been forced to spend that night in the 
open air. Next day she bade adieu to her native country and friends, 
leaving the sacrament to be received by her oppressors, from the hands of 
one no better than themselves, and after two days of incredible toil she 
arrived with the family at Thurso, a distance of nearly forty miles ! 

These protracted sufferings and alarms have made fatal inroads on the 
li(?alth of this once strong and healthy woman — one of the best of wives — 
o that instead of the cheerful and active helpmate she was formerly, she 
is now, except at short intervals, a burden to herself, with little or no hopes 
of recovery. She has been under medical treatment for years, and has 
us<;tl a great quantity of medicine with little effect; the injuries she 
received in body and mind, were too deep for even her good spirits and 
excellent constitutiou to overcome, and she remains a living monument of 
Highland oppression. 



LETTER XXI. 

Sir, — I beg leave, by way of conclusion, to take a retit)spective glance 
of some of the occurences that preceded the violent exj)nlsion of my 
fauiily, as descril>ed in my two last letters, and our final retirement from 
the country of our nativity. 



For reasons before alleged, nothing could have given more satisfaction 
to the factors, clerg}-, and all the Jacks-in-ol^ice under them, than a final 
riddance of that troublesome man, Donald M'Leod ; and hence their 
extreme eagerness to make an example of him, to deter others from call- 
ing their proceedings in question. I mentioned in letter XTX that on 
being unjustly and illegally imprisoned, and decerned to pay money I did 
not owe, I prepared and forwarded a memorial to the noble proprietors (the 
then Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford), setting forth the hardships of 
my case, and praying for investigation, alleging that I wo^uld answer any 
accusation of my enemies, by undeniable testimonials of honest and peace- 
ful character. This memorial was returned with the deliverance that Mr. 
Loch, on his next visit to Sutherland, would examine into my case and 
decide. I then set about procuring my proposed certificate preparatory 
to the investigation, but here I found myself baffled and disappointed in a 
quarter from which I had no reason to expect such treatment. I waited 
on my parish minister, the Kev. Mr. M'Kenzie, requesting him to give 
me a certificate, and then, after him I could obtain the signatures of the 
elders and as many of the other parishoners as might be necessary. He 
made no objection at the time, but alleging that he was then engaged, 
said I could send my wife for it. I left directions with her accordingly, 
and returned to my work. The same night the factor (my pretended 
creditor and judge) had the minister and his family to spend the evening 
with him, and the consequence was that in the morning a messenger was 
dispatched from his reverence to my wife, to say, that she need not take 
the trouble of calling for the certificate, as he had changed his mind ! 
Some days after, I returned and waited on the Rev. gentleman to inquire 
the cause of this change. I had great difiiculty in obtaining an audience, 
and when at last I did, it was little to my satisfaction. His manner was 
contemptuous and forbidding ; at last he told me that he could not give 
me a certificate as I was at variance with the factor; that my conduct was 
unscriptural, as I obeyed not those set in authority over me, tfec. I 
excused and defended myself as well as I could, but all went for nothing, 
and at last he ordered me to be off, and shut the door in my face. This 
took place in June, 1830, and Mr. Loch was not expected till the Septem- 
ber following, during whi(5h interval I had several re-encounters with the 
minister. Many of his elders and parishoners pleaded and remonstrated 
with him on my behalf, well knowing that little attention would be paid 
in high quarters to ray complaints however just, without his sanction; 
and considerable excitement prevailed in the parish about this dispute, 
but the minister remained immoveable. Meantime the parish schoolmaster 
mentioned in confidence to one of the elders (who was a relation of my 
wife, and communicated it to us) that my case was already decided by 
Mr. Loch, though a sham trial would take ]jlace ; that he had been told 
this, and he had It from good authority, and that the best -thing I could 
do was to leave the place entirely. I could not believe this, but the result 
proved the truth of it. Matters continued in the same way till Mr. Loch's 
arrival, when I ventured to repeat my request to the uiinister, but found 
him still more determined, and I was dismissed with more than usual 



53 

oontempt. I then got a certificate prepared myself, and readily obtained 
the signatures <^ the eldei-s and neighbouring parishoners to the amount 
of several hundreds, which I presented to ^Ir. Loch, along with the before 
mentioned memonal, when the following dialogue took place between that 
^'entleman and me in presence of the factors, «tc. 

Mr. Loch. — Well, Mr. M'Leod, why don't you pay this £b 8s. you 
were summoned for ? 

Donald. — Jugt, Sir, because I don't consider myself entitled to pay it. 
I hold legal receipts to show that I paid it two yeara ago ; besides, that is 
I case to be legally decided before a competent court, and has no connexion 
with my memorial. 

^[r. L.— Will you pay it altogether or by instalments, if you are allowed 
I o remain on the estate 1 

D. — Let the case be witlidrawn from the civil court or decided by the 
ivil magistrate, before I answer that question. 

Mr. L. — Well, can you produce the certificate of character mentioned 
in this memorial? 

I hdnded over to him the certificate mentioned above, with three or four 
heets full of names attached to it. He look at it for some time (per- 
iiaps surprised at the number of signatures) and then said, — 

Mr. L. — I cannot see the minister's name here, how is this ? 

I).—l applied to the minister and he would not sign it. 

Mr. /..—Why ] 

D. — He stated as his reason that T was at variance with the factors. 

One of the factors. — That is a falsehood. 

Mr. L. — I will wait upon Mr. M'Kenzie on the subject. 

D. — Will you allow me, sir, to meet you and Mr. M'Kenzie face to 
lice, when he is asked to give his reasons ? 

Mr. L. — Why will you not believe what he says ? 

/>.— I have got too much rea:son to doubt it ; but if he attempts to deny 
A hat I have stated, I hoj>c you will allow him to. be examined on oathi 

^fr. L. — By no means, we must surely believe the minister. 

Aft^r asking mo some further questions which had nothing to do with 
he matter in hand, he dismissed me in seeming goo<l humour. 

I pressed to know his decision in my case, but he said, you will 

;»;t to know it before I leave the country ; nmkc yourself easy, I will write 

' o your parish minister in a few days. The result was the cruel expulsion 

f my family and the spoliation of my goods, as detailed in my two last 

■ttei-s. 

Mr. Loch in his judgement on my case, alleged ns his principal reason 

•r punishing me that Mr. M'Kenzie denied my assertions in regard to 

himself, and represented me as a turbulent character. 

' During our temi>orary residence at Armidale, I took an op|>ortunity of 

' I waiting on the Kev. genth-man when he was catechising in a neigh- 

ng fishing village with several of his elders in company, and asked to 

I'lak with him in their presence. He attempted to meet mo outside the 

ioor, but I pushed in when the eldei-s were sitting at breakfast; saying, 

no sir, I wish what passes between you and me to bo before witnesses. 



54 

I want a certificate of my moral cliaracter, or an explanation from yoit 
before your elders why it is withheld." Here my worthy friend Donald 
M'Donald (the preserver of my wife's life on the memorable night of her 
expulsion) interfered and expostulated with his reverence, who driver* 
into a corner, found no excuse for refusal, except that he had not writing 
materials convenient. I directly met this objection by producing the 
articles required, yet, strange to say, he found means to shuffle the busi- 
ness over by a solemn promise, in presence of his elders, to do it on a 
certain mentioned day. I waited on him that day, and after long delay 
was admitted into his parlour and accosted with, "Well M'Leod, I am not 
intending to give you a certificate." "Why so, sirl" Because you 
have told falsehoods of me to Mr. Loch, and I cannot certify for a man 
that I know to be a liar : " adding " Donald, I would favour you on your 
father's account, and much more on your father-in-law's account, but after 
what you have said of me, I cannot." I repelled the charge of being a 
liar, and said " I do believe that if my father and father-in-law, whom you 
have mentioned with so much respect, stood at the gate of Heaven seeking 
admittance, and nothing to prevent them but a false accusation on the 
part of some of the factors, you woud join in refusing their entrance to 
all eternity." He rose up and said, "you are a Satan and not fit for 
human society." I retired for that time ; but ultimately forced him, by 
incessant applications, to write and sign the following: — 

" This certifies that the bearer, Donald M'Leod, is a native of this parish 
a married man, free from church censure ; therefore he, his wife and 
family may he admitted as Gospel hearers wherever Providence may order 
their lot. 

Given at Farr Manse. (Signed) 

Previous to gi-anting this certificate the minister proposed to bind me 
up not to use it to the prejudice of the Marquis of Stafford, or any of his 
factors! This point, however, he did not carry, for when he suljmitted 
it to the session he was overruled by their votes. 

This concludes the narrative of what I have myself suffered at the hands 
of the petty tyrants whom I had enraged by denouncing their barbarous 
treatment of my countrymen, and whose infamous deeds I have had the 
satisfaction of exposing to public reprobation. I shall not resume the pen 
on this subject unless I see that what I have written requires to be fol- 
lowed up to prevent a continuation of such atrocities as are already 
recorded. I am a Highlander, and must have revenge for the wrongs I 
have suffered. The revenge I desire is that these letters may be pre- 
served for many a day in my native country, to keep up the remembrance 
of the evil that was done to many an innocent individual, and among 
others to 

Donald M'Leod. 



THE LATE RIOTS IN DURNESS. 



LETTER XXII. 

When concluding that series of letters, descriptive of the woes of Suth- 
erlandshire, which I now republish in the form of a pamphlet, I was not 
expecting so soon to find occasion to add important new matter to the sad 
detail. Another portion of my native county has fallen under the ' 
oppressor, and got into the fangs of law, which being administered by 
those interested, little mercy can be expected by the wretched defaulters. 

All those conversant with the public papers will have seen an article, 
copied from the Inveiness Courier, entitled " Riot in Durness, Suther- 
landshire," in which as usual a partial and one-sided account of the affair 
is given, and the whole blame laid on the unfortunate inhabitants. The 
^^olation of law, committed by the poor people driven to desperation, and 
for which they will no doubt have to pay dear, is exaggerated, while their 
inhuman oppression and provocation are carefully left out of sight. The 
following facts of the cases are a combination of my own knowledge, and 
that of trustworthy correspondents who were eye-witnesses of this unfor- 
tunate occurrence, which will yet be productive of much misery to the 
victims — perhaps end in causing their blood to be shed ! 

Mr. Anderson, the tacksman of Keenabin, and other farms under Lord 
Reay, which were the scene of the riot, was one of the earliest of that 
unhallowed crew of new tenants, or middlemen, who came in over the 
heads of the native farmers. He, with several othei-s I could name, some 
of whom have come to an unhappy end, counting the natives as their 
slaves and their prey, disposed without scruple of them and all that they 
had, just as it suited their own interest or convenience, reckless of the 
wrongs and misery they inflicted on these simple unresisting jieople. 
They were removed from their comfortable houses and farms in the interior, 
to spots on the sea shore, to make room for the new-comers with their 
flocks and herds, and to get their living, and pay exorbitant rents, by 
cultivating kelp, and deep-sea fishing. In these pursuits their persevering 
courage and industry enabled them to surmount appalling difticulties, 
though with much suffering and waste of health and life. The tacksman 
set up for a fish curer and rented the sea to them at his own pleasure, fur- 
nishing V)oat8 and implements at an exorbitant price, while he took their 
fish at his own price, and thus got them drowned in debt and consequent 
bondage, from which, by failures both in the kelp and fishing trades, they 
have never been able to relieve themselves. Seeing this, and thinking 
he could, after taking their all for thirty years, put their little holdings, 
improved by their exertions, to a more profitable use, this gentleman 
humanely resolved to extirpate them, root and branch, after he had sucked 
their blood and peeled their flesh, till nothing more could be got by them, 
and regardless of the misery to which he doomed them, how they might 



56 

fare, or which way they were to turn to procure a subsistence. To emi- 
grate they were unable, and to repair to the manufacturing towns in quest 
of employment, when such multitudes are in destitution already, would 
afford no hope of relief. Where, then, were they to find refuge 1 To this 
question, so often urged by the poor out-casts in Sutherlandshire, the 
general answer of their tyrants was, "let them go to hell, but they must 
leave our boundaries." 

Human patience and endurance have limits, and is it to be wondered 
at that poor creatures driven to such extremities should be tempted to turn 
on their ojipressors, and violate the letter of the law ? Hence it is true 
that the poor people gathered, and seized and burned the paper which 
appeared as a death warrant to them (and may in one v/slj or other prove so 
to them) and did their utmost, though without much personal violence, to 
scare away their enemies, and though law may punish, will humanity not 
sympathize with them ? The story, as represented in the papers, of severe 
beating and maltreatment of the officers is, to say the least, a gross exag- 
geration, The intention, however indefensible on the score of law, was 
merely to intimidate, not to injure. The military, it seems, is now to be 
called upon to wind up the drama in the way of their profession, I pray it 
may not end tragically. If the sword be unsheathed at Cape Wrath, let 
the southrons look out ! If the poor and destitute — made so by injustice 
— are to be cut down in Sutherland, it may only be the beginning ; there 
are plenty of poor and destitute elsewhere, whose numbers the landlords, 
to save their monopoly, might find it convenient to curtail ; and to do 
which they only want a colourable pretext. Meanwhile, I shall watch the 
progress of the affair at Durness, and beg to call on all rightly constituted 
minds, to sympathize with the distress of the unfortunate people. 
i 



LETTER XXIII. 

Sir, — Having lately exposed the partial and exaggerated statements in 
the Inverness Courier, (the organ of the oppressors of Sutherlandshire,) 
my attention is again called to subsequent paragraphs in that paper, and 
which I feel it my duty to notice. 

Since my last, I have received communications from correspondents 
on whom I can rely, wliich, I need scarcely say, give a very different 
colour to the proceedings from what appears in the Courier, emanating, 
as it evidently does, from the party inflicting the injury. The first notice 
in that paper represents the conduct of the poor natives in the blackest 
aspect, while the latter, that of the 27th October, is calculated to mislead 
the public in another way, by representing them as sensible of their errors, 
and acknowledging the justice of the severities practiced upon them. 

The Courier says, " We are happy to learn that the excitement that led 
to the disturbance by Mr. Anderson's tenants in Durness has subsided, 
and that the people are quiet, peaceful, and fully sensible of the illegality 



Of 

and unjustifiable nature of their proceedings. The Sheriflf addressed the 
people in a powerful speech, with an effect which had the best conse- 
quences. They soon made written communications to the Sheriff and Mr. 
Anderson, stating their contrition, and soliciting forgiveness ; promising 
to remove voluntarily in May next, if permitted in the meantime to remain 
and occupy their houses. An agreement on this footing was then 
happily accomplished, which, while it vindicates the law, tempers justice 
with mercy. Subsequently, Mr. Naj^ier, Advocate-Depute, arrived at the 
place to conduct the investigation," tkc. 

Latterly the Cowier says, 

" The clergyman of the parish convinced the people, and Mr. Lumsden, 
the Sheriff, addressed them on the serious nature of their late proceedings; 
this induced them to petition Mr. Anderson, their landlord, asking his 
forgiveness ; and he has allowed them to remain till May next. We trust 
•something will be done in the interval for the poor homeless Mountaineers." 
This is the subdued, though contemptuous tone of the Courier, owing 
doubtless to the noble and impartial conduct of the Advocate- Depute, Mr. 
Najiier, who in conducting the investigation, found, notwithstanding the 
virulent and railing accusations brought by those who had driven the poor 
jfcople to madness, that their conduct was very different from what it had 
been represented. The Courier, in his first article, called for the military 
"to vindicate the law" V)y shedding the blood of the Sutherland rebels; 
but now calls them *' poor homeless mountaineers." His crocodile tears 
accord ill with the former virulence of him and his employers, and we 
have to thank Mr. Napier for the change. The local authorities who 
assisted at the precognition did the utmost that malice could suggest to 
exa.sperate that gentleman against the people, but he went through the 
case in his own way, probing it to the botfx)m, and qualifying their rage 
by his coolness and im})artiality. 

Notwithstanding a series of injuries and provocations unparalleled, this 
is the first time the poor Sutherlandei-s, so famous in their happier days 
for defending their country and its laws, have been led to transgress; and 
1 liope when the day of trial comes, the very worst of them will be found 
"more sinned against than sinning." It is to be lamented that the law 
has been violated, but still more to be lamented that all the best attributes 
of our common nature — all the principles of justice, mercy, antl religion, 
havabeen violated by the oppressors of this j)eople, under colour of law ! 
The poor victims, simple, ignorant, and heart-broken, have men of wealth, 
talent, and influence, fortlieir opponents and accusers — the very individu- 
als who have been the autiiors of all their woes, are now their vindictive 
jKr.secutors — against the combination of landlorths, factors, and other 
officials, there is nf>ne to espoust; tlieir cause. One of my correspondentH 
Siiys, the only gentleman who seemed to take any interest in the people's 
cause was ordered by the Sheriff Luujsden out of his presence. Another 
says, no wonder the Sheriff was so disposed, foi when he arrived in Dor- 
noch, the officials represented the people as savages in a state of rebellion, 
so that he at first declined proceeding without military protection, and in 
consequence, a detachment of the o3rd Regiment in Edinburgh Castle re- 



58 

ceived ordei*s to march ; and could a steamboat have been procured at the 
time, which providence prevented, one liundred rank and file would have 
been landed on the shores of Sutherlandshire, and, under the direction of 
the people's enemies, would probably have stained their arms with innocent 
blood ! But before a proper conveyance could be obtained, the order was 
countermanded, the Sheriff having found cause to alter his opinion ; the 
people, though goaded into momentary error, became immediately amenable 
to his advice. The clergyman of the parish, also, made himself useful on 
this occasion, threatening the people with punishment here and hereafter, if 
they refused to bow their necks to the oppressor. According to him, all the 
evils inflicted upon them were ordained of God, and for their good, where- 
as any opposition on their part proceeded from the devil, and subjected 
them to just punishment here, and eternal torment hereafter. Christ 
says " Of how much more value is a man than a sheep 1" The Sutherland 
clergy never preached this doctrine, but practically the reverse. They 
literally prefer flocks of sheep to their human flocks, and lend their aid to 
every scheme for extirpating the latter to make room for the former. 
They find their account in leaguing with the oppressors, following up the 
threatenings of fire and sword by the Sheriff, with the terrors of the 
bottomless pit. They gained their end ; the people prostrated themselves 
at the feet of their oppressors, "whose tender mercies are cruel." The 
Courier says, "the law has thus been vindicated." Is it not rather injus- 
tice and tyranny that have been vindicated, and the people make a prey? 
When they were ordered, in the manner prescribed, to put themselves 
entirely in the wrong, and beg mercy, they were led to believe this would 
procure a full pardon and kinder treatment. But their submission wa» 
immediately followed up by the precognition, in which, as I said before, 
every means was used to criminate them, and exaggerate their offence, and 
it depends on the view the Lord Advocate may be induced to take, what 
is to be their fate. One thing is certain, Mr. Anderson and his colleagues 
will be content with nothing short of their expatriation, either to Van 
Dieman's Land or the place the clergy consigned them to, he cares not 
which. For the mercy which, as the Courier says, has been tempered with 
justice, of allowing the people to possess their houses till May, while their 
crop had been lost by the bad weather, or destroyed by neglect during the 
disturbance, they are mainly indebted to Mr. Napier. Anderson found 
himself shamed into a consent, which he would otherwise never have given. 
God knows, their miserable allotments, notwithstanding the toil and money 
they have expended on them, are not worth contending for, did the i)oor 
creatures know where to go when banished, but this with their attachment 
to the soil, makes them feel it like death, to think of removing. 

Anderson craftily turned this feeling to his advantage, for, though he 
obtained the degrees of ejectment in April,' he postponed their execution 
till the herring fishery was over, in order to drain every shilling the poor 
people had earned, exciting the hope, that if they paid up, they would be 
allowed to remain ! The Courier hopes " something will be done for the 
poor mountaineers J^ O my late happy, highminded countrymen is it 
come to this 1 Represented as wild animals or savages, and hunted accord- 



59 

ingly in your own native straths, so often defended l>y the sinews and 
blood of your vigorous ancestors ! 

Surely, your case must arouse the sympathy of generous Britons, other- 
wise the very stones will cry out ! Surely, there is still so much virtue 
remaining in the country that your wrongs will be made to ring in the 
ears of your oppressors, till they are obliged to hide their heads for very 
shame, and tardy justice at length overtake them in the shape of public 
indignation. 



LETTER XXIV. 

Sir, — Since my last communication was written, I have received letters 
from several correspondents in the north, and, as I intimated, now proceed 
to lay a portion of their contents before the public. Much of the infor- 
mation I have received must be suppressed from prudential considerations. 
Utter ruin would instantly overtake the individual, especially if an official, 
who should dare to throw a gleam oflight on the black deeds going on, or 
give a tongue to the people's wrongs; besides, the language of some of the 
letters is too strong and justly indignant, to venture its publication, lest 
I might involve myself and others in the toils of law, with the meshes of 
which I am but little acquainted ; hence n)y correspondence must 
generally sj)eaking, be suppressed or emasculated. From the mass of 
evidence received, I am fully satisfied that the feeble resistance to the 
instruments of cruelty and oppressions at Durness, and which was but a 
solitary and momentary outbreak of feeling, owes it importance as a riot 
entirely to the inventive and colouring talents of the correspondent of the 
Invei-ness Cmnier. One of my correspondents says, ** this affray must be a 
preconcerted one on the part of the authorities;" another says "the Advo- 
cate-Depute asked me, why did the Duke of Sutherland's tenants join Mr. 
Andersons's tenants; my reply was (which he allowed to be true) that when 
Anderson would remove his, he and his either hand neighbours would di- 
rectly use their influenc to get the duke's small tenants removed likewise, 
as they hate now to see a poor man at all, and if any of the tenants 
would ofler to say so much, they would not be believed ; this is the way 
the offspring of the once valiant M'Kay'sare now used, their condition is 
beyond what a pen can describe, but we are here afraid to corres[)ond with 
such a character as you : if it was known, we would bo ruined at once." 
Another says " there was not a pane of glass, a door, or railing, or any 
article of furniture broken within or without the inn at Durine, nor 
as much as a hair of the head of a Sheriff, Fiscal, or Constable, 
touched. If it was the Sheriff or Fiscal Eraser who published the 
first article, titled Durness Riot, in the Inverness Courier^ indeed they 
should be ashamed of their unpardonable conduct;*' another says 
'* after all their ingenuity it was only one Judas they made in Durness, 
and if there was any one guilty of endeavouring to create disturtmncc it 



60 

was himself. Therefore, \vc may call him DonaklJudas il/ac a^?- Diohhail 
feav-casaid nam breugnn, and the authorities should consider what credence 
his evidence deserved in criminating the people he was trying to mislead." 
Another correspondent says "Fraser the Fiscal (a countryman himself, 
but an enemy as all renegades are) inserted a most glaring and highly 
coloured mis-statement in the Inverness Courier^ and is ever on the alert to 
publish anything that might serve his employers and injure his poor coun- 
trymen;" another says " The Fiscal and Sheriff Lumsden were very severe 
on the people before the Advocate Depute, but after he had gone through 
the business they found it prudent to alter their tone a good deal," he 
adds '• I incurred the Fiscal's displeasure /or not cjivinfj tht evidence he 
wanted for condemning the 'people, and to punish me, he would pay me 
only 10s. for attending the precognition five days and a night. But when 
the Duke comes I will lay the case before him and tell him how Fraser 
was so anxious to get the people into a scrape. He is a little worth gen- 
tleman." The conduct of the Fiscal requires no comment, and his, it is 
said, is the Courier^s authority for its mis-statements. The plan of the 
persecutors is not only to ruin and expel the natives, by any and every 
means, but to deprive them of public sympathy, by slandering their 
character, belying tlieir actions, and harassing them in every possible way, 
so as to make them willing to leave their native soil before a regular 
authorised enquiry takes place, which would (in case their victims remain 
• on the spot, not only expose their nefarious deeds, but also lead the way 
to a regular law for obliging them to provide in some way for the poor they 
have made. 

These are now the two objects of their fears, first, lest they should be 
shown uj), and secondly, that a real — and not, as hitherto, a sham — poor- 
law should be established, to make them contribute to relieve the misery 
they have so recklessly and wickedly created. With these preliminaries. 
I present you a large extract verbatim, from the letter of a gentleman, with 
whom, though I know his highly respectable connexions, I am personally 
unacquainted. Coming evidently from a person of education and charac- 
ter, it seems justly entitled to the consideration of all who are pleased to 
interest themselves in the woes and wrongs of Sutherland, and the out- 
rages there ofiered to our common humanity : — 

" You are aware that Anderson was a pretty considerable speculator in 
his time, (but not so great a speculator as * "'^ "^^j) extensively engaged in 
the white and herring fishings, at the time he held out the greatest induce- 
ments to the poor natives who were expelled from other places in the 
parish, who came and built little huts on his farm and were entirely 
dependent on their fishings and earnings with him. In this humble 
sphere they were maintaining themselves and families, until God in just 
retribution turned the scales upon Anderson ; his speculations proved 
unsuccessful, he lost his shipping, and his cash was fast following ; he 
broke down his herring establishments, and so the poor fishermen had to 
make the best of it they could with other curers. Anderson now began to 
turn his attention to sheep farming, and removed a great many of his 
former tenants and fishermen -.however, he knew little or nothing of the 



61 

details of sheep farming, and was entirely guided by the advices of his 
either hand neighboui*s, Alex. Clark of Erriboll and John Scobe of 
Koldale (both sheep farmers) ; and it is notorious that it was at the insti- 
gation of these creatures that he adopted such severe measures against 
those remaining of his tenants — but, be this as it may, this last summer 
when the whole male adult population were away at the fishing in Wick, 

he employed a fellow of the name of C 1 to summon and frighten 

the jKJor women in the absence of their husbands. The proceeding was 
both cowardly and illegal ; however, the women (acting as it can be proved 

upon C I's own suggestion !) congregated, lighted a fire, laid 

bands on C 1 and compelled him to consign his papers to the flames I 

Anderson immediately reported the case to the Dornoch law-mongers, who 
smelling a job, dispatched their officer; — off he set to Durness as big as a 
mountain, and together with one of Andei-son's shepherds proceeded to 

finish what C 1 had begun : however, he ' reckoned without his 

host,' for ere he got half through, the women fell in hot love with him 
also — and embraced him so cordially,lthat he left with them his waterproof 
Mackintosh, and ' cut ' to the tune of *' Caberfeidh.'* No sooner had he 
arrived in Dornoch, than the gentlemen there concluded that they them- 
selves had been insulted and ill-used by proxy in Durness. Shortly after- 
wards they dispatched the same oflicer and a messenger- at-arms, with 
instructions to i-aise a trusty party by the way to aid them. They came 
by Tongue, went down to Farr on the Saturday evening, raised Donald 
M*Kay, pensioner, and other two old veterans, whom they sent off before 
them on the Sabbath incog. ; however, they only advanced to the ferry at 
Hope when they were told that the Durness people were fully prepared to 
give them a warm reception, so they went no further, but returned to 
Dornoch, and told there a doleful Don Quixote tale. Immediately there- 
after, a 'council of war' was held, and the Sheriff-substitute, together with 
the fiscal and a band of fourteen special constables marched off to Durness. 
Before they arrived the people heard of their approach, and consulted 
among themselves what had best be done (the men were by this time all 
returned home.) They allowed the whole party to pass through the 
parish till they reached the inn; this was on a Saturday evening about 
eight or nine o'clock; — tlie men of the parish to the amount of four 
dozen called at the inn, and wanted to have a conference with the Sheriff, 
this was refused to them. They then respectfully requested an assurance 
from the sherifl that they would not be interfered with during the Sabbath, 
this was likewise refused. Then the people got a little exasperated, and, 
determined in the first place on depriving the sheriff of his sting, they took 
his constables one by one, and turned them out of the liouse minus their 
batons. There was not the least injury done, or violence shewn to the 
persons of any of the party. The natives now made their way to the 
sheriff's room and began to dictate (!) to him; however, as they could 
not get him to accede to their terms, they ordered liim to march off; 
which, after some persuasion ho did ; they laid no hands on liim or the 
fiscal And, to show their civility, they actually harnessed the horses for 
them, and escorted them beyond the precincts of the parish ! 1 1 The 



62 

affair now assumed rather an alarming aspect. The glaring and highly 
coloured statement referred to, appeared in the Inveimess Courier, and 
soon found its way into all the provincial and metro])olitan prints; the 
parties referred to w^ere threatened with a military force. The Duke of 
Sutherland was stormed on all hands with letters and petitions. The 
matter came to the ears of the Lord Advocate. Mr. Napier, the Depute- 
Advocate, was sent from Auld Reekie, and the whole affair investigated 
before him and the Sheriff, and Clerk and Fiscal of the County. How 
this may ultimately terminate I cannot yet say, but one thing is certain, the 
investigators have discovered some informality in the proceedings on the 
part of the petty lawyers, which has for the present suspended all further 
procedure ! I am glad to understand that the Duke of Sutherland 
expresses"*great sympathy with the poor people. Indeed I am inclined 
to give his Grace credit for good intentions, if he but knew how his 
people are harassed, but this is religiously concealed from him. 

I live at some distance from Tongue, but I made myself sure of the 
certainty of the following extraordinary case which could have occurred 
nowhere but in Sutherland. 

The present factor in Tongue is from Edinburgh. — This harvest, a 
brother of his who is a clerk, or something in that city, came down to 
pay him a visit; they went out a-shooting one day in September, but could 
kill no birds. They, however, determined to have some sport before return- 
ing home; so, falling in with a flock of goats belonging to a man of the 
name of Manson, and within a few hundred yards of the man's own house, 
they set two, and after firing a number of ineffectual shots, succeeded at 
length in taking down two of the goats, which they left on the ground ! 
Satisfied and delighted with this manly sport they returned to Tongue. 
And next day when called upon by the poor man who owned the goats, 
and told they were all he had to pay his rent with, this exemplary 
factor said to him, 'he did not care should he never pay his rent,' — *he 
was only sorry he had not proper ammunition at the time,' — as ' he would 
not have left one of them alive ! ! !' Think you, would the Duke tolerate 
such conduct as this, or what would he say did the fact come to his ears'? 
As Burns says :— 

" This is a sketch of H h's way, 

Thus does he slaughter, kill, and slay, 
And 's weel paid for 't." 

The poor man durst not whisper a complaint for this act of brutal 
despotisuj ; but I respectfully ask, will the Duke of Sutherland tolerate 
such conduct *? I ask will such conduct be tolerated by the legislature? 
Will Fiscal Fraser and the Dornoch law-mongers smell this job 1 



03 

LETTER XXV. 

Sir, — Having done my best to bring the wrongs of the Sutherlanders 
in general, and, latterly, those of Mr. Anderson's tenantry in particular, 
under the public eye in your valuable columns, I beg leave to close my 
correspondence for the present, with a few additional facts and observa- 
tions. Before doing so, however, 1 must repeat my sense — in which I am 
confident my countrymen will participate — of your great kindness in allow- 
ing me such a vehicle as your excellent paper through which to vent our 
complaints and proclaim our wrongs. I also gratefully acknowledge the 
disinterested kindness of another individual, whose name it is not now 
necessary to mention, who has assisted me in revising and preparing my 
letters for the press. I hope such friends will have their reward. 

It is unnecessary to spin out the story of the Durness Riot (as it is 
called) any longer. It evidently turns out what I believed it to be from 
the beginning — a humbug scheme for further oppressing and destroying 
the i>eople ; carrying out, by the most wicked and reckless means, the 
long prevailing system of expatriation, and, at the same time, by gross 
misrepresentations, depri^4ng them of that public sympathy to w^hich their 
protracted sufferings and present misery give them such strong claims. In 
my latest correspondence from that quarter the following facts are con- 
tained, which further justify the previous remarks, viz : — 

A gentleman who makes a conspicuous figure in the proceedings against 
the people, is law-agent of Mr. Anderson, the lessee, from whose property 

the poor crofters were to be ejected ; and C 1, the first officer sent 

to Durness, was employed by them. This C 1 was an unqualified 

officer, but used as a convenient tool by his employei-s, and it was actually, 
as I am assured, this man who advised or suggested to the poor women 
and boys, in absence of the male adults, to kindle the fire, and lay hold on 
him, and compel him to consign his papers to the flames I — acting doubt- 
less under the directions of his employers. 

The next emissary sent was an qualified officer ; qualified by having 

served an apprenticeship as a thief-catcher and w chaser in the police 

establishment of Edinburgh, who, when he came in contact with the vir- 
tuous Durness women, behaved as ho was wont to do among those of 
Anchor Close and Halkerston's Wynd ; and I am sorry to say some of the 
former were inhumanly and shamefully dealt with by him. — See Inveitiess 
Conner of 17th November. And here I am happy to })e able in a great 
degree to exonemte that journal from the charge brought against it in 
former letters. The Editor has at last put the saddle on the right horse 
— namely, his first informers, the advisers and actora in the cruel and 
vindictive proceedings against the poor victims of opj)ression. 

It is lamentable to think that the Sheriff-substitute of Sutherland should 
arrive in Durness, with a formidable party and a train of carts, to carry off 
to Dornoch Jail the prisoners he intended to make, on the Sal) hath -^ia t/ ! 
If this was not his intention, what was the cause of the resistance and 
defeat he and his party met with 1 Just this (according to the Courier 
and my own corresjiondents), that he would not consent to give his word 



64 

that he would not execute his warrant on the Sabbath-day, although they 
were willing to give him eveiy assurance of peaceably surrendering on the 
Monday following. Provoked by his refusal, the men of Durness, noted 
for piety as well as forbearance, chose rather to break the laws of man on 
the Saturday, than see the laws of God violated in such a manner on the 
Sabbath. He and his party, who had bagpipes playing l:)efore them on 
leaving Dornoch, told inquirers, that "they were going to a wedding in 
Durness." It was rather a divorce to tear the people away from their 
dearly-loved, though barren, hills. Under all the circumstances, many, I 
doubt not, will think with me that these willing emissaries of mischief got 
better treatment than they deserved. It is high time the law-breaking 
and law-wresting petifoggers of Sutherlandshire were looked after. This 
brings again to my mind the goat-shooting scene, described in my last, 
which was the more aggravated and diaV)olical from having been perpe- 
trated during the late troubles, and while a military force was hourly 
expected to cut down such as should dare to move a finger against those 
in authority ; knowing that, under these circumstances, no complaints of 
the people would be hearkened to. But this was not the only atrocity of 
the kind that took place in the country at this time. I have seen a letter 
from a respectable widow woman residing in Blairmore, parish of Rogart; 
to her son in Edinburgh, which, after detailing the harassment and misery 
to which the country is subject, says — " I had only seven sheej), and one 
of Mr. Cellar's shepheids drowned five af them in Lojhsalchie, along with 
other five belonging to Donald M*Kenzie ; and many more, the property 
of other neighbours, shared the same fate. We could not get so much as 
the skins of them." But they durst not say one word about it, or if they 
did, no one would hearken to their complaints. God alone knows how 
they are used in that unfortunate country, and he will avenge it in bis own 
time. 

A correspondent of mine says — '' At an early period of your narrative, 
you stated that the natives were refused employment at public works, even 
at reduced wages ; but, if you believe me, sir, in the last and present 
year, masons, carpenters, tfec, were brought here from Aberdeenshire, and 
employed at those works, while equally good, if not better native trades- 
men were refused, and obliged to go idle. This, however, was not 
admitted as an excuse when house-rtnt, poll-tax, or road-money was 
demanded, but the most summary and oppressive means were used for 
recovery. They have been paying these strangers four or five shillings 
a-day, when equally good workmen among the natives would be glad of 
eighteen-pence 1" 

In this way, the money drained from the natives in the most ligorous 
manner, is paid away to strangers before their eyes, while they themselves 
are refused permission to earn a share of it ! My correspondent adds — 
" We know the late Duchess, some years before her demise, gave orders 
(and we cannot think the present Duke of Sutherland has annidled these 
orders) that no stranger should be employed, while natives could be found 
to execute the work. But it seems the ofiicials, and their under- strappers, 
can do what they please, without being called to account, and this is but 



65 

one instance among the many in which their tyranny and injustice is 
manifested." Every means, direct and indirect, are used to discourage 
the aborigines, to make them willing to fly the country, or be content to 
starve in it. 

May I not ask, will the Duke of Sutherland never look into the state of 
his country? Will he continue to suffer such treatment of the peoj)le to 
whom he owes his greatness ; proceedings so hazardous to his own real 
interest and safety? Is it not high time that that illustrious family should 
institute a searching inquiry into the past and present conduct of those 
who have wielded their power only to abuse it] 

Their extensive domains are now, generally speaking, in the hands of a 
few selfish, ambitious strangers, who would laugh at any calamity that 
might befall them, as they do at the miseries of those faithful subjects 
whom they have supplanted. Many of these new tenants have risen from 
running about with hobnails in their shoes, and a colly-dog behind them, 
their whole wardrobe being on their back, and all their other appoint- 
ments and equipage bearing the same proportion — to be Esquires, Jus- 
tices of the Peace, and gentlemjin riding in cairiages, or on blood-horses, 
and living in splendid mansions, all at the expense of his Grace's family, 
and of those whom they have despoiled of their inheritance. • The time 
may come — I see it approaching already, when these gentlemen will say to 
his Grace *' if you do not let your land to us on our own terms, you may 
take it and make the best of it; who can compete with us?" This will 
be the case, es|>ecially when the natives are driven away, and the compe- 
tition for land, caused by the food taxes, comes to an end. Let his Grace 
consider these things, and no longer be entirely guided by the counsels of 
his Ahithophel, nor adopt the system of Rehoboam towards the race of 
the devoted vassals of his ancestors, a portion of whose blood runs in his 
veins. 

" Woe is me? the possessoi^s of my people slay them, and hold them- 
selves not guilty;" and they that sell them say, "blessed bo the Lord, for 
I am rich; and their own shepherds pity them not." *'Let me mourn 
:ind howl" for the pride of Sutherland is spoiled! 

In a former letter I put the question to the Sutherland clergy, "of 
liow much more value is a man than a sheep ?" No reply has been made. 

I ask again, "you that have a thousand scores of sheep feeding on the 
straths that formerly reared tens of thousands of as brave and virtuous 
men as Britain could boast of, ready to shed their blood for their country 
or their chief ; were these not of moi-e value than your animals, your 
shepherds, or yourselves? You that spend your ill-gotti?n gains in riotous 
living, in hunting, gaming, and debauchery, of how much more value 
were the men you have disjiersed, mined, and tortured out of exiHtence, 
than you and your base companions ?" But I now cease to unpack my 
heart with words, and take leave of the subject for the present ; assuring 
my kind correspondents, that their names will never be divulged by me, 
and pledging myself to continue ex|x>sing oppi*e88ion so long as it exists 
in my native country. 

In conclusion, I implore the Qovemment to make inquiry into the con- 

E 



66 

dition of this part of the empire, and not look lightly over the outrooting 
of a brave and loyal people, and the razing to the ground of that 
important portion of the national bulwarks, to gratify the cupidity of a 
few, to whose character neither bravery nor good feeling can be attri- 
buted. 

Yours, (fcc, 

DONALD M'LEOD. 




APPENDIX, 



During the publication of the foregoing series of lettere in the Chroni- 
cle, I have received a very great number of letters, all tending to establish 
and illustrate, and in no instance to contradict, the facts adduced. Much 
of this correspondence is valuable from being well written, and containing 
the graphic descriptions of eye witnesses. I regret, therefore, that the 
limits to which I had resolved and arranged to confine the size of this 
pamphlet, will admit of my giving at present but a very small selection of 
this large and daily increasing mass of corroborative evidence. This is 
also partly caused by the space unavoidably occupied in the recent case of 
the so called Durness riots, as well as by my personal narrative, on neither 
of which I had originally calculated. 

Should the present publication be favourably received, I may, however, 
soon follow it up with some supplementary matter, especially if the course 
of proceedings in that devoted county should continue. In this case the 
correspondence would be an interesting and appropriate adjunct. I have 
in the previous pages repeatedly pledged myself to keep watch and ward, 
and bring the wrongs of Sutherland before the public so long £is I can 
hold a pen, or obtain a medium for the publication of them, and, with 
God's help, I will not shrink from the engagement. 

I am quite aware that great allowances must be made, by readers of 
education and literary taste, should these pages be honoured with a perusal 
by any such. I am not capable of writing to please critics; I had a higher 
aim, and my success in Vjringing out the case of my countiymen must now 
stand the ordeal of public opinion. For my own part, zeal and faithful- 
ness are all I lay claim to, and if my conscience tells me true, I deserve 
to have these conceded to me, by both friends and enemies. 

There are three remarkable cases in the corresi)ondence which I cannot 
think to postpone; the first is that of Angus Campbell, who possessed a 
small lot of land in the parish of Rogart, in the immediate neighbourhood 
of the parish minister, the Rev. Mr. M'Kenzie. This Rev. Divine, it 
seems, had, like King Ahab, coveted this poor man's small possession, in 
addition to his own extensive glebe, and obtained a grant of it from the 
factor. Agus Campbell, besides his own numerous family, was the only 
support of his elder brother, who had laboured for many years under a 
painful and lingering disease, and had spent his all upon physicians. 

Angus having got notice of the rev. gentleman's designs, hud a memo- 
rial drawn up and presented to her Grace the late Duchess, who, in 
answer, gave orders to the factor to the effect that, if Angus Campbell 
was to be removed for the convenience of Mr. M'Kenzie, he should be 
provided with another lot of land equally as good as the one he i^sscssed. 
But, like all the other good promised by her Grace, this was disregarded 
as soon as she turned her back; the process of removal wa« carried on, 
and to punish Angus for having applied to her, he was dealt with in the 



68 

following manner, as stated in a memorial to his Grace the present Duke, 
dated 30th March, 1840. 

In his absence, a messenger-at-arms with a party, came from Dornoch 
to his house, and ejected his wife and family ; and having flung out their 
effects, locked the doors of the dwelling house, oflices, ikc, and carried the 
keys to the safe keeping of the rev. Mr. M'Kenzie, for his own behoof. 
These proceedings were a sufficient warning to all neighbours not to afford 
shelter or relief to the victims ; hence the poor woman had to wander 
about, sheltering her family as well as she could in severe weather, till 
her husband's arrival. When Angus came home, he had recourse to an 
expedient which annoyed his reverence very much; he erected a booth 
on his own ground in the church -yard and on the tomb of his father, and 
in this solitary abode he kindled a fire, endeavouring to shelter and com- 
fort his distressed family, and showing a determination to remain, notwith- 
standing the wrath and threatenings of the minister and factors. But as 
they did not think it prudent to expel him thence by force, they thought 
of a stratagem which succeeded. They spoke him fair, and agreed to 
allow him to resume his former possession, if he would pay the expenses 
(£4: 13s) incurred in ejecting him. The poor man consented, but no 
sooner had he paid the money than he was turned out again, and good 
care taken this time to keep him out of the church-yard. lie had then 
to betake himself to the open fields, where he remained with his family, 
till his wife was seized with an alarming trouble, when some charitable 
friend at last ventured to afford him a temporary covering : but no dis- 
tress could soften the heart of his reverence, so as to make him relent. 

This Campbell is a man of good and inoffensive character, to attest 
which he forwarded a certificate numerously signed, along with his memo- 
rial to the Duke, but received for answer, that as the case was settled by 
his factor, his Grace could not interfere ! 

The second case is that of an aged women of four score — Isabella Gra- 
ham, of the parish of Liirg, who was also ejected with great cruelty. She 
too sought redress at the hands of his Grace, but with no better success. 
A copy of the substance of her memorial, which was backed by a host of 
certificates, I here subjoin : — 

" That your Grace's humble applicant, who has resided with her hus- 
land on the lands of Toroball for upwards of fifty-years, has been removed 
from her possession for no other reason than that Robert Murray, holding 
an adjoining lot, coveted her's in addition. That she is nothing in arrears 
of her rent, and hopes f tom your Grace's generosity and charitable dispo- 
sition, that she will be permitted to remain in one of the houses belonging 
to her lot, till by some means or other she may obtain another place pre- 
vious to the coming winter, and may be able to get her bed removed from 
the open field, where she has had her abode during the last Jlfteen weeks/ 
Your Grace's humane interposition most earnestly but respectfully 
implored on the present occasion, and your granting immediate relief will 
confirm a debt of never-ending gratitude, and your memorialist shall evei 
pray, tkc" 



69 

[The following letter will explain the third case without any comment ] 

December 8, 1841. 

Dear Sir, — In your descriptions of the inhuman treatment ,to which 
the poor Sutherlanders have been, and are still exposed, you have not 
hitherto represented the unhallowed proceedings which took place between 
five and six years ago, in the "Episcopal City of Dornoch," when the 
parish church underwent an extensive repair, and considerable additions 
were made to it solely for the pnvate convenience of the great Sutherland 
family, who defi-ayed the whole expense. 

During the progress of these works, the church-yard, in which the 
inhabitants had buried their dead for time immemorial, presented the most 
revolting spectacle imaginable, being strewed with human bones, skulls, 
and pieces of coffins, ttc, exhumed by the workmen employed in digging 
for the foundations of the new additions to the church, in levelling the 
church-yard, and forming new and enlarged walks. 

These relics of mortality were permitted to remain exposed to view long 
after the mason-work was completed, and an entire coffin was actually 
suffered to remain on the surface for a fortnight ; while the tomb-stones 
which indicated their resting place, bearing the endearing inscriptions of 
parents and children, were rudely thrown aside, and afterwards not 
replaced nor preserved, but used, it is said, in the formation of a new 
enclosure wall. It is true indeed, that one or two families of the aristo- 
cracy there threatened resistance, but their anger was appeased, if not 
their vanity gratified, by having their famify tomb-stones fixed inside one 
of the enti-ance porches. The resident inhabitants of Dornoch, however, 
whose progenitors had been buried tht^re for ages, were denied even the 
privilege of re-interring the remains exhumed by workmen brought from 
a distance who felt no sympathy for the lacerated feelings of the commu- 
nity, and refused to re-inter the human bones; alleging that their instruc- 
tions were limited to be careful in preserving and delivering to the agent 
of the Duke, at Golspie, any ancient coins or other relics of antiquity 
that might be discovered in the course of the excavations. Matters con- 
tinued in this painful position till a new church-yard was formed at a 
distance from the town, and where, ultimately, the surplus earth, <fec , was 
removed from the old church-yard. 

Whether it was that th«; inhabitants disliked the idea of being buried 
beyond tho sound of the church bell, or apart from their relatives, or from 
whatever other cause, it is certain the dying made it a last special request 
that they should be buried in some of the neighbouring parishes, — and 
thus the new church-yard was likely to be so only m luxine. Ultinmtely, 
however, the death of a poor person at a distance presented an opjiortunity 
of providing at least one tenant, and since that i)eriod the «t1'ircli<>iis to 
the new burying ground are not now so frequently made. 

A stranger to the Sutherland tyrannical system of managenn ml m.iy well 
exclaim in wonder and horror — Why did the inhabitants tolerate such 
unhallowed proceedings 1 — and why did the clergyman of the parish 



70 

silently witness the barbarous treatment of the remains of his late 
parishioners] Those, however, who have perused your graphic account 
of the dreadful sufferings of the people, will be at no loss to discover from 
whence arises their apparent apathy. 

I am, (fee, 

A Dornoch Correspondent. 

To Mr. Donald M'Leod. 



[The following letter appeared in the Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle of the 

18th Dec, 1841.] 

Mr. Editor, — Sir, the publication of Donald M'Leod's Letters, while it 
adds to your high reputation for independence, reflects in a double sense 
on a brother contemporary in the North ; and I must say with Donald 
M'Leod, that the Editor recently alluded to by him is ever to be found 
with "the powers that be." He catches at any circumstance that affords 
an opportunity of lauding a lord or a laird, and he is always laying his 
blarney on their doors with a trowel; while his negative praise of the 
poorer natives is disgusting to those who really know them. 

The subject of Donald's letters leads me now to notice a removing, 
which I fear is too truly apprehended at the term of Whitsunday, in one 
of the remote glens of Ross- shire : and though not very extensive, it is of 
a very aggravated nature, inasmuch as the victims are not only able to 
keep their holdings, but are men of the most spotless diaracter. These 
are chiefly the M'Crie's of Corryvuik, in Strathconan, a county now pos- 
sessed by one of the wealthiest men in Scotland, but who, it would seem, 
feels but little solicitude about this portion of the dependants over whom 
Providence has placed him as guardian. The farm has been occupied for 
time immemorial by the progenitors of the present tenants, all of whom 
have lived upon it from infancy. They maintained their means and credit 
in the worst of times, and are fully stocked ; — they have never been in 
arrears to the laird; — and it is believed that their names were never called 
in a court of law, either as suitors or defenders. They are known as the 
quiet, unobtrusive, j^rimitive people of Corryvuik ; and at a happier period 
of their lives, they were the pride of their proprietors (the ancient family 
of Fairburn), though they now feel, that the chain which bound them to 
their native soil and chiefs is snapped assunder for ever. 



,>A^.. 



MRS. H. BEECHER STOWE. 



Madam, — I would wish to address you as inoffensively as our present 
position before the public can admit of. Without any provocation on my 
part, you have assailed my character most shamefully, and I must tell you, 
that though a humble individual who has devoted much of his time and 
means in advocating the cause and righteous claims of the poor, remon- 
strating with, and exposing the ungodly dealings of the rich towards them, 
unaided as I am by classical education, or the smiles of fortune; yet I con- 
sider my reputation and character as a narrator of unvarnished facts, equally 
as sacred, and as dear to me, as you can consider your own as an accomplish- 
ed novelist and sophistical adulator of the oppressors of the poor. Taking 
the advantage of your auspicious position in society; surrounded by the 
beauties of English aristocracy, golden diamond, ducal braclets, glittering 
gold soverigns, fame, favour and fortune, thinking the whole world was 
bound to believe whatever you would say or write — yes Madam, dreaming 
in these paradises of grandeur, wealth, dignity and luxury, you, in the 
greatness of your soul, thought to demolish me for ever, by making me 
out as a ridiculous fabricator of falsehood. Against whom ? The fasci- 
nating, angelic, and spotless Duchess of Sutherland. I do acknowledge to 
you, and before the world, to be the legitimate parent and author of the 
accusations against the House of Sutherland, which found their way to the 
American puhlic prints, of which you gave a specimen in your " Sunny 
^Memories," to convince the American people of how ridiculous, and exces- 
sively absurd they were. I know that it was reiK)rted, and circulated 
through the public press in England and Scotland, that I was dead ; but 
even if dead, it would be very unlady-like of you to attack even a dead 
man's character, at least until you made a searching enquiry into the 
veracity or falsehood of his statements. If you believed this report, tliey 
have deceived you, and as sure as I am a living Scotchman my motto is, 
nenio vie impune lacesseAe. I do really sympathize with you, for I know 
it is a huinilinting reflection for you, that for the sake of aristocratic 
adulation and admiration, which you could well spare, that you have 
exi)Osed yourself to be publicly chastised by an old Ilighland Scotch 
broken down stone mason ; yet you have done it and I am sorry for it, 
and to do you justice, to do my own character justice, but above all to do 
the public justice, I consider it my bounden duty to bring you to the 
test, that the public may judge aright who is the greatest fabricator of 
false stories — you or me — expecting the public judgment will be based 
upon the evidence we advance to confirm the voracity of our opposed 
statements, and the source from which we obtain our evidence. I deny 
the charge of fabricating falsehood against the Duchess of Sutherland, or 
against the. House of Sutherland, nor against any other despotic depopu- 



72 

lating house in the highlands of Scotland; neither had I need to exagge- 
rate nor to colour the truth; indeed I have taken more pains to modify 
the truth than I should liave done, so that people could believe me. I 
challenge, yea, I court contradiction, or a combatant upon fair ground. 

"No favour — honour bright." 

Then at it. In prefacing your "Sunny Memories" you say — " This book 
will be found to be really what its name denotes, Sunny Memories." I 
admit this to be an indisputable fact, for I believe you never basked in the 
sunshine of favour more luxuriously than you did while in England. You 
had no doubt a pecuniary object in view in going to England, and you 
have realized it to your heart's desire. The ladies of England had also a 
particular object in view in inviting you there, and you satisfied them. 
Their fame as the greatest philanthropists under heaven — their superiority 
in accomplishments and gorgeous sublimity to any other nation on earth, 
are now established for ever, and for ever, (as they and you think). Next 
you say — "The writer has been decided to issue these letters principally, 
however, by the persevering and deliberate attempt in certain quarters to 
misrepresent the circumstances which are here given. So long as these 
misrepresentations affected those who were predetermined to believe 
unfavourably, they were not regarded; but as they have had some influ- 
ence in certain cases upon really excellent and honest people, it was desi- 
rable that the truth be plainly told." * * -x- Kow Madam had you 
kept up to the principle of telling the plain truth, you would have saved 
me the disagreeable task of correcting you, and of pointing out to your- 
self, and to the public, where you have failed to ascertain or tell the plain 
truth. Truth and Justice, Madam, are Heaven-begotten twin sisters, but 
if they had not, nor have not any other place of abode upon earth but the 
palaces of English dukes and duchesses, lords, primates, and bishops, and 
the mansions of money mongers, manufacturers, commissioners and factors 
such people, by your own confession, with whom you associated, and cor- 
responded while in England, I say that long since the heavenly pair 
would perish homeless, houseless, friendless, unpitied, and persecuted 
among snow and frost on the streets of England, Ireland, and Scotland ; 
but being immortal, they will ultimately prevail and triumph over false- 
hood, sophistry and injustice. 

Your lavishing of praise and admiration of English feminine beauty 
and virtue, of mansions, scenery, institutions, aristocratic manners and 
arrangements, I will let you go with it by merely offering a short but an 
eai-nest prayer up to Heaven, that the Lord of Heaven and earth may 
preserve the American ladies from being smitten or infected by the fatal 
contagion with which your Sunny Memories are pregnant, and that they 
may not adopt the English system of grinding down the people upon 
whom they depend for protection in the time of need, and for supplying 
them with all the necessaries of life at all times, to starvation and beggary, 
to crime and punishment, and then separate themselves from them as 
unclean animals, in railway cars, in churches, in schools, in streets, 
theatres, and assemblies, considering their very breath to pollute the 



73 

atmosphere, and exceedingly dangerous to their refined constitutions. This 
is my pi-ayer, and for the sake of the American ladies and the American 
people, I hope I will be heard and answered. The Americans should have 
sad recollection of what their fathers told them of the English systems 
and manners among themselves in the days of yore, and should watch well 
and guard themselves against being beguiled to adopt any more of the 
English systems than what is consistent with humanity, nature and true 
godliness. None will deny, but English ladies in general are beautiful 
women (^et there are some, no but many, ugly exceptions,) and can 
assume affability to a most coaxing and deceptive extent when they have 
an object in view to gain ; but any one less or more acquainted with their 
history, or with themselves personally, for any lenijjth of time, may discern 
with many of them souls so much chocked up with pride and ambition, 
that all which can be admired about them is only skin deep, especially 
among the majority of your bosom favourites wliile in England. 

It is likewise well known throughout the whole world that the British 
aristocracy, such as landocracy, priestocracy, moneyocracy, cottonocracy, 
and many other robbingocracies, do enjoy all the luxuries, grandeur, 
amusement, and i)leasure, that seared consciences can enjoy, that art can 
produce, and that ill fjotten wealth can purchase. But how many thou- 
sands, yea millions of as valuable human beings as they are, are toil- 
ing and languishing in misery and want all their life time, to keep up this 
unnecessary grandeur and dignity] Ah ! Madam, this is an enquiry you 
should have made, if you are really what you say you are, — a sympathiser 
with suffering humanity, — before spending so much of your valuable time 
and talents, praising and admiring English grandeur and dignity. The 
majority of these dignitaries and nobles never did anything to benefit so- 
ciety ; so that all you have seen aVjout them must be the production of 
plunder, and the. price of blood. Yes, I say, for cme instance, you ought 
to ascertain how numy slaves his grace the Duke of Sutherland, himself 
alone, would require to build, and to furnish, and keep up his establish- 
ment in London, viz. Stafford House, (of notoriety) which you have so 
elaborately described in letter 16 of your "Sunny Memories," But as 
you have neglected to inform the American ladies how this magnificent 
establishment is supplied, 1 must inform them. You say in letter 17, 
•' That the total population of the Sutherland estate is twenty-one thousand 
seven hundred and eighty-four." Correct, or incorrect as this statement 
may bo, I leave it to you; but if correct, his Grace's ])eople must have in- 
creased most ivickeiUy since liis Grnce permitted them to mm n/, and since 
1 left Scotland four years ago. Likewise, if correct, I can tell you Madam, 
without hesitation, that three-fourths of that immense population are living 
in poverty and incredible penury. I will risk my reputation, yes my life, 
that sixteen thousand of tliem do not consuuje, upon an average, half-a- 
pound of animal food of any description thiouj^h the whole year, and that 
they have to live ui)on the scantiest and ]>oore8t allowances of all other food 
that human beings can exist upon. Yes, all that they can scrape and 
save i.s needed at Stafford House. Then I will allow that three thousand 
of them live a little better, but who are not to be envied; then take one 



74 

thousand seven hundred who live comfortable, but not in affluence. Add 
to those a score or two of sheep farmers, who occupy three-fourths of 
Sutherlandshire, paying heavy rents, and live sumptuously, — in short all 
proceeds are sent up to supply the needs of Stafford House, and this is but 
one of its many streams of wealth. No wonder, Madam, that you have 
seen such wonderful splendour, and been so delightfully entertained at 
Stafford House — especially invited there to vindicate their character from 
the accusations brought against them by Donald M'Leod, and others of 
the plebian order. There is still a balance of one thousand and forty-four 
of the population yet unaccounted for , — these are of the unproductives. 
They consist of factors, sub-factors, established (by law) ministers, school- 
masters, sheriffs, police, constables, fiscals, lawyers, pettifoggers, gamekeep- 
ers, foresters, shepherds ground officers, water and mussel bailiffs, and an 
host of bloodsucking subordinates, vermin, who pick up every cent that can 
be concealed or saved from Stafford House. It is well known and easily 
believed, where poverty prevails, there is strife, and where strife is, there is 
a field for plunderto suit these low vermin inquisitors. Now, Madam, I grant 
that the Duke of Sutherland and his predecessors were, and are, the most 
humane and liberal of all other Highland, Scotch, Irish, or English plun- 
dering depopulators. But if it was possible or practicable to try the ex- 
])crinient, that is, to bring nineteen thousand of the American slaves to 
Sutherlandshire, and give them all the indulgence, all the privileges, and 
comforts the aborigines of that county do enjoy, I would risk all that 
is sacred and dear to me, that they, would rend the Heavens, praying to be 
restored to their old American slave owners, and former position. I con- 
sider this but a small tribute or compliment to the slave owners ; yet I 
know that there is nothing bad but what can be worse, for there are many 
more painful ways of killing a dog than to hang him. I would respect- 
fully ask who are the greatest objects of commisseration and sympathy, — 
,a brave, moral, intelligent and enterprising race of people, who were born 
free, who were nurtured in the school of freedom, and defenders of free- 
dom in all the ages of time ; against whom there was no priestly denunci- 
ations to be traced in sacred, ancient, moral, or modern history; and who 
were robbed and deprived of all the liberties and rights they were told and 
taught by their fathers to be their indisputable inheritance, and enthralled 
to the lowest degree of degradation, sul3mission, and poverty. I say are 
they not much more to be pitied, than an unfortunate race, who at an 
early period of time became the victims of cruel priestcraft, taking the ad- 
vantage of a curse, said to be pronounced by a drunken father, very likely 
in delirium tremens ; or to the misrepresentation of that curse left on sa- 
cred record, which left that race denounced, consigned, and designated to 
be slaves and the servant of servants — consequently despised, left untold, 
untaught in the science of enterprise, progress, or civilization and totally 
ignorant of the rights and privileges of human beings. Both cases are to 
pitied and lamented, but I hold the latter case to be far more tolerable 
to endure than the former. The child who has been born blind is not so 
helpless, nor so much to be pitied when he comes to manhood, as the poor 
fellow who has been deprived of his sight after arriving at manhood; the 



former never knew what light or the use of it whs, and will not pine and 
lament over the loss of it ; besides, in most cases natural instincts will, to 
a certain extent, make up for the deficiency. Whereas, the latter poor 
fellow who knew what light is and the use of that inestimable gift of God, 
when he stumbles, or falls, or strikes his head against a post, it is not the 
personal injury he sustained, that is the principal cause of his bewailing 
and sufferings, no, but the loss of his sight, and that he had none to 
lead him past danger. 

It is a melancholy, undeniable /rtc< that Republic Americans do breed, 
sell, and buy slaves; that they chase them with blood hounds when they 
run away ; that they flog them ; that they shoot and hang them for dis- 
obedience; that they separate husbands and wives, parents and children. 
But will any one prove to me that the condition of the unfortunate people 
would be better or more tolerable should the Americans, like High- 
land Scotch and English dukes, marquises, earls, and lairds, make and 
take as many slaves as they choose for nothing. Methinks it would be 
more consistent to admit, that buying and selling, and the higher the price 
of slaves are, is a sure guarantee that they will be taken care of, (leaving 
humanity out of sight ) If a man purchases a horse at a high price, he 
will take care of that animal ; but if he knew that he could get as many 
horses as he choosed for nothing, and that when one horse died or was 
lamed, that he had nothing to do but to go and take another, you could 
not expect that man to care much whether his horses were well ied or 
housed. 

The American slave owners themselves are to be pitied, for they are the 
dupes or victims of false doctrine, or rather say, of the misinterpretation 
of sacred records. They believe to have a divine right to sell and buy 
African slaves ; to flog, hang and shoot them for disobeilieuce ; and to 
chase them with blood hounds and Methodist ministers, if they run away. 
But the English aristocracy maintains to still higher prerogatives, in di- 
rect opposition to sacred records, — they believe to have divine right to 
monopolise the whole creation of G(xi in Britian for their own private use, 
to the exclusion of all the rest of His creatures. They have enacted laws 
to establish these rights, and they blush not to declare these laws sacred. 
And it is to be lamented that these laws and doctrines are generally be- 
lieved. Let any one peruse their Parchment Rights of Property, and he 
will find that they include the surface of the earth, all the minemls, itc. 
below the surface to the centre, all that is above it up to the heavens, 
rivers of waters, bays, and creeks, of mixed salt water and fresh w ater, for 
one and one-fourth leagues out to the sea, with all the fishes of every des- 
cription which Kpawn or feed therein, and all fowls who lay and are raised 
on land, — a right to deprive the jieople of the least pi*etention of right to 
the creation of God but what they choose to give them, — a right to conij>el 
the people to defend their properties from invaders; to prc.'ts and ballot as 
many of them as they choose; hand-culf them if they are unwilling, and 
force them to swear bi/ God to be time and faithful slaves, — a right to im- 
prison them, to flog, to hang, and shoot them if i-efractory, or for the least 
disobedience. Yes, a right to force them away to foreign and unhealthy 



76 

climes, to fight nations who never did them any injury, where they perish 
in thousands by disease, fatigue and starvation, like brute beasts ; to hang, 
shoot, or flog them to death for even taking a morsel of food when dying 
for want of it : all for to gain more possessions and power for British aris- 
tocracy. Only read the history of the East and West Indies ; of the Pen- 
insula, Crimea, and China Wars. 

Slavery is damnable, and the most disgusting word in the English or 
any other language ; and it is to be hoped that the Americans will soon 
discern its deformity, pollution and iniquity, and wipe away that old 
English polluted stain from their character. But there is not the least 
shadow of hope that ever the British aristocracy will think shame, or give 
up their system of slavery ; for it is the most profitable now under heaven, 
and the most admired, and adopted by all other nations of the earth ; at 
least until the promised Millenium will arrive, whatever time that blessed 
era will take in coming — unless the people in their might will rise some 
morning early, and demand their rights and liberties with the united 
voice of thunder which will make the most hardened and stubborn of the 
aristocratic adamant hearts tremble and ache. British ocracy's sympathy 
with American slaves is, in reality, a burlesque ; for I do assure you, 
Madam, they care no more for the eniancipation of the American slaves 
than they do for the emancipation of Greenland whales and seals from 
their captors. Self-interest and fame was their object in jumping at your 
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" and in their adulation of the authoress, and has 
been their object since ever I began to take notice of their sophistical 
movements, and long before it. Much to their praise (though it cost 
them twenty-one million pounds sterling) the British people abolished sla- 
very in the West India British Colonies. But who were their bitter and 
inveterate opponents 1 — English Bishops, and aristocracy ; but now they 
take all the praise to themselves. Their principal cause for denouncing 
American, slavery is, if properly searched out, that their West Indian 
estates does not make such lucrative returns to them now as they used to 
do, and not their sympathy for the African race. However, it is an ad- 
mitted fact, that it is characteristic of British aristocracy to be the most 
liberal sympathisers with foreign victims of oppression, injustice and 
barbarous, ungodly laws ; but with me their motives are very question- 
able, they having reverse qualifications at home. But they know that 
their foreign sympathy, liberality, and abhorrence of foreign slavery will 
find a conspicuous place in the public press, magazines, school books, re- 
ports and tracts, and that their praise will reach the utmost corner of the 
earth — that their fame, as the most humane, the most benevolent and 
blessed, will be ballooned up to Heaven by bishops, priests, ministers, that 
(reverently speaking) God might approve of it. At home they are the 
most liberal contributors to Bible and Missionary Societies, especially to 
the publication and circulation of missionary reports, where the donors 
and donations are sure to be magnified and praised up to heaven ; and the 
recipients represented as the most ignorant of the plan of salvation and of 
the Christian religion — denying not but they had the image of God on 
them, yet not (in intellect) much above the condition of the brute crea- 



tion. These hired emmissaries have contributed on a large scale, and assist- 
ed greatly the calumniators of the Highlands of Scotland. I know many 
of them going about preaching^ prai/intj^ circulating G<ielic Bibles and 
religious tracts, at the same time surveying the country and collecting in- 
formation of the districts more susceptible and profitable for sheep-farm- 
ing, and publishing the most gross, unfounded and inconsistent falsehoods 
regarding the character and intelligence of the people, that could be coined 
l)y tlie arch-enemy of mankind — (you know who that is.) However, all 
this had the desired consummation or effect. The benevolence of aristo- 
cratic donors and liberal donations were praised in every sublime term 
that the English language could supply ; and to magnify their liberal and 
benevolent dispositions still more, the demerits, undeservedness, the 
barbarianism and sloth of the recipients were described in the grossest Bil- 
lingsgate language that could be collected. But follow those over-praised 
and admired aristocratic personages home to these palaces, which cost you, 
Mddam, so much time and labour to describe to your American friends, 
(although you were supplied with catalogues and invoices of their interior, 
and a plan or map of their pleasure grounds), and ask them the few fol- 
lowing questions : — In the name of wonder how did you manage to get 
these splendid edifices built and furnished so gorgeously, when I know 
you yourselves never put a hand to any work ] The reply would be — We 
employ men to do it for us. Still more surprised, you ask — How have 
you got the enormous sums of money required to pay them? The truth- 
ful reply should be — Oh, we have large, extensive lauded estates, and we 
can tax the people who occupy and labour them as we please. Others 
would reply, we employ so many thousands of people, and we pay them 
as we please; for every shilling they work for, or get, we have three shil- 
lings, and were it not for the tricks you Yankees play on us at times, we 
might be a great deal richer than we are, even richer than the landlords. 
But halt a little until you see a poor industrious tenant of one of these 
landed aristocracy, apj^roaching the gate of this palace with a humble 
petition, shewing a most grevious comj)laint, for an outrage committed by 
lie of his graces or lordship's factors or underlings, and prevented to enter 
my farther by a bulldog at full chain length; if he got past the dog, met 
another bull in human shape, dres.sed in livery, from whom there was no 
escaping, and had to stand still until his grace or lordship thought it 
l>roper to take an airing walk for his health after breakfast or dinner, and 
ufter waiting for days in this humiliating position, ultimately told that 
Mothing could l:>e done for him, or oixlered back to the tymnt tmderling 
ii^'ainst whom he complained for nidress, and you may wisily guess what 
kind of redress or reception the poor fellow would get. Shift tlun to the 
palace of a church-ocracy, cottonocracy, or any other ocracy you please, 
and see a poor fellow in rags, exhausted in frame, with trembling limbs, 
leaning on his staff, coming up to the gate soliciting a crumb of bread or 
a morsel of broken meat from the tablo which he was supplying all his 
lifetime. There you will see the broken meat thrown away to feed useless 
dogs, and the poor fellow collared by a police constjible, and next day 
sentenced to thirty days' imprisonment iu Bridewell, breaking stones or 



78 

teasing oakum, for his impudence; but two blacks will never make a white 
— if you, Madam, and I were sitting side by side for six months, I would 
bet you a dollar my side of the leaf would be the darkest — hence we 
iiiusl turn up the most ridiculous brifjltt side of the question. Did you, 
Madam, enquire while in England, how this noble institution called the 
Poor Man's Church, in England and Ireland, whose bishops, structure, 
and constitution you admired so much, and laboured so much in recom- 
mending to others, is maintained 1 I know you did not. That such 
questions were entirely out of your way. This is another of the costly and 
pernicious aristocratic institutions of the country, self styled the " Poor 
Man's Church." It is not difficult to make you understand how it is so 
called. Church revenues were at one period, yes for ages, divided into 
three parts, — the first part for the maintenance of the priesthood — the 
second for the maintenance and repair of the fabric of the Church, and 
the third for the relief and support of the j^oor. But the Clergy, aided by 
their patrons, the aristocracy, have contrived and enacted laws to saddle the 
maintenance of the fabric on the people, in the form of Church Rate?, the 
maintenance of the poor on the people in the form of Poor Rates, while 
the Apostolic priesthood, descended from the poor fishermen of Galilee, 
swallowed up both their own and the poor people's share. Not satisfied 
with this, the Church does not disdain to seize the poor man's pots and 
pans, and even the bed that he rests his weary limbs on, to sell them by 
public auction to raise funds to wash the priests' surplices, and to ring the 
bells. The twenty-five State Bishops of England divide among them- 
selves incredible sums of money. By a late Parliamentary return, it 
will be seen the sums they leave behind them at their death are 
enormous. From another Parliamentary return it is proved, as stated 
in the House of Commons by Captain Osborn, that eleven Irish State 
Bishops left behind them at their death, the sum of one million eight 
hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds sterling, accumulated within 
a period of from forty to fifty years. The Bishop of Cashel during a 
single life, saved £400,000 from the tributes levied on the i)oorest, 
worst fed, worst clad, of all the nations of the earth. How much charity 
and spirit of Christianity dwelt in his palace, or occupied his bosom, may 
be guessed ] How much piety and christian virtue must the prelates of 
Dublin, Tuam, Armagh, and Clogher have excercised to enable them to 
hoard up fortunes of from £250,000 to £600.000 a piece during their 
lives. This is a sample of the Bishops of the English Church in Ireland, 
for which the British nation are keeping up an army of 34,000 soldiers, 
besides an army of mounted police, to watch over its safety. Surely these 
are expected to be serious and strenuous sympathisers with American 
slaves. Now you must know Madam, that there was only £151,127 12s. 
4d. of hard cash divided by the bishops among themselves ; but this only 
represents but a small proportion of their actual gains ; we have to add to 
this the rents and profits of 670,000 acres of the Irish land which, in 1845, 
amounted to £92,000 ; tithe composition, £531,781 14s 7d. ; minister 
money, £10,000; then what is termed Deans and Chapter, £22,624 5s. 
5d., besides other perquisites, makes a total of £807,533 12s. 4d. What 



work is done for all this expenditure 1 According to report, out of 2364: 
parishes in Ireland, 155 have no churches, and not a single piotestant 
inhabitant ; 45 parishes, having under 50 protestants, including men, 
women and children, they are not on that account however, relieved from 
payin<]f tithes to the English Church which are still compulsory exacted — of 
300 dignities, and prebends 75 of them have no duties to perform, and 96 
other sinecures. The Archdeacon of Meath has £731, and not one pro- 
testant to attend him or a soul to cure. I find seven benefices, with 62 
protestants, without one church or a clergyman, who pays £2869 lis. of 
tithe. I find eight parishes with only 17 -J members of the State Church 
who pay £4860 of tithe composition. Need we be surprised that such a 
system as this should have issued in beggary and wretchedness and crime 
to the Irish people, and kept that nation hanging on the brink of rebellion 
since they became subject to the English Government. This is the church, 
which Babington Macauly descril^es the " most ridiculous, and inde- 
fensible of all the institutions now existing in the civilized world." and 
by Mr. Roebuck as the "greatest ecclesiastical enormity in Europe." 
Space will not permit me to dwell on these cases, which could be multi- 
plied almost without end. Indeed the rapacity of the clergy is almost 
proverbial. They are not satisfied with one living, they would grasp at 
ten if they could get them. What do they care about duties, it is the 
money they want. They are in reality what Milton styled them in his 
day, "non resident, and plurality gaping prelates, the giilphs and 
whirlpools of benefices, but the dry pits of all sound doctrine who engross 
many pluralities under a non-resident and slumbering dispatching of 
souls, who let hundreds of parishes famish in one diocese, while they, the 
prelates, are mute, and yet enjoy that wealth which would furnish all those 
dark places with able supply ; and yet they eat, and yet they live at tlu' 
rate of lords, and yet hoard up ; consuming and purloining even that 
which by their foundation is allowed and left to the poor and to the 
reparation of the church." 

The English people who believe in the Episcopalian creed and doctrine 
are entitled to support this apostolic institution named after them and they 
do it sweetly. It is a difiicult thing to get exact estimates of the total 
revenue of this institution in England. Churchmen have always been 
exceedingly loath to give information on this subject. When the Gov- 
ernment in 1836 had made enquiries on the subject, the ecclesijistical 
commission was called on to make a return of the income of the clergy to 
Parliaujent, they then gave in the net revenue of the church at only 
£3.436,851 ; but since then th« tithe commutation act has come into 
ojHiration, then it became the interest of the church to claim as much as 
possible, forgetting their previous return. What has been the consecjuen- 
ces ? The tithes commuted swelling up at once to six millions and a half 
sterling, and they found out that if the tithes yet uncommuted be 
rated at the same value as those commuted, the annual income of the clergy 
from tithes alone will at least amotint to £8,000,000 a year. Besides the 
tithes, there are the charitable foundations of England, most of which 
they have got into their hands. These are.the professorships, fellowships, 



80 

tutorships, masterships, etc , in the universities, and the revenues of Ox- 
ford and Cambridge amounts to no less than £741,000. Then the surplice 
fees for the consecration of burial ijrounds, preacherships, lectureships, 
chapiainships, chapel of ease, easter dues, christening fees, marriage fees, 
burial fees, episcopal revenues from land and other sources, when added 
together, will form a total of not less than ten millions sterling per year. 
Then Madam, I will give you a brief sketch of how the British people 
are taxed for other aristocratic purposes; the process is simple indeed. They 
don't ask the consent of those whom they tax — they take particular care 
to keep them out of their counsels as much as possible : they merely tax 
us and make us pay, having at all times at hand, and under their command 
a strong body of police, soldiers, and diabolical agencies of all sorts, and 
pay the people must. See how they manage to get it, — so much on sugar, 
so much on tea, coffee, tobacco, malt, hops, cocoa, soap, spirits, window 
light, &c. tfec. "We are quarrelling about an income tax of seven-pence the 
pound sterling," said Mr. Cobden, in his speech in the House of Com- 
mons, March 13th, 1852. What amount do the people pay on articles 
consumed by them 1 For every 20s. they expend on tea, they pay 10s. 
of duty; for every 20s. on sugar, they pay 6s.; on coffee, 8s.; on soap, Ts.; 
on beer, 4s.; on tobacco, 16s.; on spirits, 14s.; on every 20s. they expend 
upon these articles, and other articles in proportion, you cannot but see 
that this amounts to an income tax, not 7d. the pound, but sometimes of 
12s., 15s., or 16s. per pound; while men of thousands a year expend their 
money upon luxuries, with comparatively little tax." It is really wonder- 
ful how the aristocratic classes have contrived to evade the payment of 
their due share of the taxation of the country. According to their own 
Parliamentary Report, the land tax of Great Britian amounts to £1,183,- 
000, which is only one pound in every thirty-three pounds raised by tax- 
ation in Britain. The taxes are mainly extorted from the working classes, 
who are the least able to bear the imposition, while the rich both exempt 
themselves, and spend the taxes so raised in the most riotous, reckless, 
extravagance. The land tax, so far as I can trace, has not been increased 
since 1688, though other taxes during that period have nearly twenty fold. 
Yet from the beginning of George the Third's reign to 1834, the aristocracy 
had seized upon and enclosed not less than 6,840,540 acres of common 
land, but the taxes were not increased one cent. This is not all, they have 
enacted laws to exempt the landed and agricultural classes from taxes im- 
posed on the rest of the community. The landlord laws enact that all shall 
pay the stamp duties but themselves. The assessed taxes have been re- 
moved down to the farm-house, and the shepherd's dog. The laws author- 
ize entail, by which real estates are preserved to a series of heirs, unat- 
tachable by the claims of creditors. They have specially exempted lands 
from the heavy probate and legacy duty, imposed on all other kinds of 
property descending by inheritance or Will. By these means alone, ac- 
cording to calculation, they saved themselves the enormous sum of £3,- 
000,000 annually. I say, for instance, that a poor labouring man, by dint 
of hard industry and economy, has saved two hundred pounds, which he 
leaves to a relative at his death. The amount is taxed at the rate of one 



81 

to ten per cent., according to the nearest of kin. But say that a lord, duke, 
or earl dies, and leaves an estate of from one to forty thousand pounds a 
year, not one penny is in this case paid in the shape of tax. They man- 
aged that the industrious, and all other classes but their own, should pay 
sweetly for public misrule. To help themselves still further, they have 
saddled eight hundred and forty-one of their order upon the nation, under 
the lucrative title of State Pensioners, whose pensions average £1,876, 
total, £1,638,371 per annum, not speaking of the thousands of lower 
grades of pensionei'S. I shall conclude this portion of my address to you, 
by briefly informing you of the expenses of the aristocratic fighting estab- 
lishment of Great Britian, during thirty years of peace, (both military and 
naval), — £549,083,112 ; average per annum, £16,150,000, including the 
expenses of putting down the Canadian Liberals, and of the Opium War 
in China. (See Lord John Russell's speech in the House of Commons, 
on the 18th of July, 1848.) In short, Madam, if I was to enumerate 
what I know myself of the extravagant expenditure of the British 
Aristocratic Government, and of the monopolising systems of Great 
Britain, you would be astonished how the producers of all the wealth and 
splendour you have seen in England could exist at all. The Duke of Wel- 
lington alone cost the nation £2,762,563, since he entered the army, up to 
1818. No wonder that the magnificent edifices, the sumptuous furnish- 
ings and embellishments, the beauties of art and nature within and with- 
out these edifices, and the amiable demeanour of the crafty ladies of Eng- 
land, have dazzled your eyes, so much so as to throw all republic grandeur, 
liberty, beauty, and arrangements, completely in the shade of insignifi- 
cancy. But, Madam, had you made proper enquiry and research, you would 
have found that all these magnificent superstructures and splendour which 
rivetted your attention, and brought forth your admiration and superfluity 
of praise, were founded on American and West Indian slavery, and East 
Indian plunder, embellished and supplied by home plunder ; then you 
have a fair si>ecimen, rather an ocular demonstration of the sublime and 
ridiculous — somewhat like what you will find in Spain, Portugal and 
Italy. There you will find superb mansions, and churches which will sur- 
pass any you have seen in England, connected with an institution they call 
The Holy Inquisition. But in the rear and basement, you may find 
racks, gags, wheels, and other instruments of punishment; helpless, hope- 
less victims going through various ordeals of lingering death, and a char- 
nel house to receive them. Let no one suppose that I include the English 
people in this black catalogue; no, I respect them, for they are the real 
victims of unnecessary dignity and grandeur. 

In your perambulation in Scotland, you have seen only one church 
worthy of your notice, and that same one was faulty, and not one liviiig 
literary, scientific, or tlieological gentleman met you, even in Edinburgh, 
(modern Athen.s) that was worth mentioning hia name, but Doctor 
Guthrie, a Free Church minister, and Doctor Henderson, a homoepathic 
physician. Of all the letters you found waiting yoti in Edinburgh, there 
were only five of tliem worthy of your notice, viz: "A very kind and 
-beautiful one from the Duchess of Sutherland, another horn lier brother 
p 



82 

the Earl of Carlisle, making an appointment for meeting you as soon as 
you arrived in London; another from the Rev. Mr. Kingsley and his lady. 
Letters from Mr. Binney, and Mr. Sherman — all containing invitations to 
visit them in London." You say, in writing to your dear sister upon this 
subject, '*As to all engagements, I am in a happy state of acquiescence, 
having resigned myself as a very tame lion into the hands of my keepers. 
Whenever the time comes for me to do anything, I will try to behave 
myself as well as I can, — which, as Dr. Young says, is all an angel can do 
in the same circumstances." Oh, Madam, what presumptive comparisons. 
When God appoints and commissions men or angels to advocate the cause 
of the oppressed, and preach deliverance to the captive and slave. The 
oppressors of the people will not be (nor w^ere not) their admired, bosom 
friends and only associates; they w^ould not be embarrassed, nor would 
hearken to the flattering correspondence and invitation of Dukes, Duch- 
esses, Earls, nor of such as those who accumulated immense wealtli and 
grandeur by grinding down the faces of the poor and industrious ; nor 
yet would they be coaxed from ])erforming their mission faithfully, by 
presents of platefulls of glittering gold — long purses, containing unac- 
counted large amounts of the same precious metal, and boxes of jewelry 
and diamond bracelets — yes, and costly dresses, not knowing their number. 
We have an ocular demonstration of this in the behaviour and conduct of 
men (not speaking of angels), down from Moses to Luther, Calvin and 
John Knox — men who despised that which you admired — who did not 
hesitate to proclaim the messages they received from their master to the 
different Pharoah's they had to contend with in the world, and chose ra- 
ther to associate with the captives — partake of their suffering and afflic- 
tions, than to share in the festivities, sumptuousness, and luxuries of the 
oppressors. None who will peruse your " Sunny Memories " carefully, but 
must come to the conclusion, that if ever you received any injunctions 
from heaven regarding the American slaves, that you have merchandised 
them. Mr. Gough, the great teetotal advocate and abstainer, hearing of 
your success, soon followed you to Britain; but what would you think of 
him yourself, had he made the distillers and brewers of Britain his only 
bosom associates and co-operators in putting down the vices of intemper- 
ance in America or anywhere else, which brought thousands, yea, millions 
of the people to a premature grave, crime, and condign punishment. I 
say what would you think of him should these gentlemen load him with 
many thousand sovereigns for praising their mansions, and extensive 
establishments for manufacturing crime and woe to an extent which would 
throw the American establishment of the same character into the shade of 
insignificance; would you yourself consider him worthy the name of a 
teetotal advocate, or a sympathiser with the victims. I am sorry to say 
that my view of your movements and manoeuvers in Britian, is a fac 
simile ; only this, that you have received many thousand sovereigns (yes, 
to an unknown amount), for the express purpose and conditions of eman- 
cipating American slaves. What have you done with these immense 
sums ]— not a single dollar of it can be traced to where it was intended, 
and should be found. 



83 

I was present at the great meeting or soiree you had in the Music Hall, 
Edinburgli, (the seat of learning,) I know that you have been well received 
there, and almost every body thought you were worthy of it, (I among 
the rest); a great deal of merited eulogy, and a great deal of what I consider 
fulsome, blasphemous adulation, were poured out upon you that evening, 
but all seemed to go down well with you; you were held up by the orators 
of the evening to the immense assembly as the Angel of Freedom, the 
Angel of Light, J-c. But among the flattering orators there were 
none worthy of your notice, (as I said before) but Doctor Guthrie ! Whyl 
because he spoke highly of the Duchess of Sutherland. This pays the 
Doctor well, for when the Duchess comes to Edinburgh, she attends 
divine w^orship in the Doctor's church, the only Free church she ever 
entered, and she graces the offering plate with two or three sovereigns ; 
she will call upon the Doctor at his house and take him out for an after- 
noon's drive in her carriage, and send her compliments to him when in 
Sutherland (her Highland deer stalking and game preserve estate) in cart 
loads and hurly loads of deer carcases and fowl. Her daughters, viz : 
Duchess of Argyle, and Lady Blantyre, will follow the example of their 
mother, and the Proprietrix of Cromarty, who is married to her son. Mar- 
quis of Stafford, will not be behind any of them. I assure you the Doctor 
has fine times of it between them all, and bound to praise them well. 

But the only portion of his speech on this great eventful, and never- 
to-b(?-forgotten occasion, which amused you most was, "In allusion to the 
retorts which had been made in Mrs. Tyler's letter to the ladies of England, 
on the defects in the old country." You introduced the Doctor to your read- 
ers of the Sunny Memories as "a tall thin man, with a kind of quaintness in 
his mode of expressing himself, which sometimes gives an air of drollery 
to his speaking." (True indeed, but a good man, and a man I admired 
much, though he befooled himself that night.) " I do not deny," he said 
"but there are defects in our country, what I say of them is this, — that 
they are incidental very much to an old country like our own, as Dr. 
Simpson knows very well and so does every medical man, that when a 
man gets old he gets infirm, his blood vessels get ossified. What is time 
of an old country is true of old men, and old women too. I am very much 
disposed to say of this young nation of America, that their teasing with 
our defects, might just get the answer which a worthy member of the 
Church of Scotland gave to his son, who was so dissatisfied with the defects 
in the church, thai ho Wius determined to go over to a younger commu- 
nion — " Ah Sandy, Sandy, man, when your lum reeks as lang as ours, it 
will mayV)0 need sweeping too." Now, I do not deny but we need sweep- 
ing; every one knows that I have been singing out about sweeping for 
the last five years. Let mo tell my good friends in Edinburgh and in the 
country, that the sooner you sweep the bettor, for the chimney may catch 
fire and reduce your noble fabric to aslies. He continued and said, 
"They tell'us in that lett<;r about the poor needle-woinan tliat had to 
work sixteen hours a day," (but the doctor forgot to say for eight pence 
per day). Tis true, exclaimed the doctor ; but does our law com))el 
them to work sixteen hours a day ; may they not go where they like and 



84 

get better wages, and better work — can the slaves do that!" Then the 
doctor went on to detail about ragged children and his own sympathy 
towards them, and what he had done for them. Now, the doctor was in- 
vited to this meeting to speak of the in compatabilty of Am er ican si avery with 
Christianity ; but he knew better how to please his favourable Duchess 
than to speak consistently to his text — praising English ladies and justi- 
fying the Duchess of Sutherland from charges brought against her and 
others in the liberal public press of the nation, was his sole object in 
speaking at the meeting. I really felt sorry for the poor misguided "thin 
tall" doctor, yet I could not allow him to escape with impunity for 
his reckless, inconsistent and uncalled-for conduct that night. A few 
days afterwards, I addressed the following letter to him through the 
Edinburgh Guardian. You will observe there was some peculiar cause 
for inviting the doctor to this meeting, and that he was invited at the re- 
quest of some great personage or another, or he would not be there. He 
was the only one of that reverend body who was invited, or took any part in 
the proceedings that night, for this cause : the meeting was got up by the 
Anti-Slavery Society, who raised such a hue and cry against the Free Church 
ministers for years before this, for taking money from the American slave- 
holders to build churches, and Dr. Guthrie was then the Free Church 
champion — defending their conduct, who, at every meeting, would pin 
up his opponents to the wall ; however, the Antics managed to break 
down the good and friendly feeling between the Free Church body and 
the Americans, which I believe, if allowed to continue undisturbed, would 
have ten times more effect for the emancipation of the slaves, at least of 
ameliorating their condition, than all the agitation, excitement and novels 
which have been displayed upon the subject. 

To the Editor of the Edinburgh Guardian. 

Sir, — You are already aware that the higher a man's position is in 
society, and in the estimation of the people, the more dangerous he is 
when he errs. It is a singular anamoly that the ecclesiastical orators of 
the platform in our day cannot praise one party enough without calumni- 
ating other parties. This T deplore, and gentlemen guilty of such prac- 
tice should be ashamed of themselves, however much they may be ap- 
plauded, and whatever amount of meiTiment they may create at the time ; 
it is passing strange that the Rev. Dr. Guthrie could not praise Mrs. 
Beech er Stowe enough, a lady who understood so well that she could not 
serve God in a more acceptable way than to help those who could not 
help themselves, hence, who merited for herself the gratitude of every 
sympathiser with suffering humanity; nor yet could he praise God 
enough, " for (as he saith) giving us in our day (in the person of that 
lady) one in whom the finest genius is associated with the imrest and truest 
Piety" without attacking the memory of Byron and of Burns, two 
shining men to whom the world are so much indebted, with a view to de- 
teriorate their memory in the estimation of his hearers in the Music Hall 
on the 19th ultimo. Be ashamed, Doctor, for your hyperbolic assertions ; 
both these valuable men are dead, but still speaking, and their memory is 



85 

associated with truth, though not with whining hypocrisy, falsifying phi- 
losophy, and perverting truth, a trade which pays well in our day^ — be- 
sides, you have not been long acquainted with Mrs. B. Stowe yet, and you 
should be more cautious and sparing of praise. In like manner, the 
Doctor could not praise and make manifest his love to the American peo- 
ple as the greatest and noblest on earth (ourselves excepted) for their />wr€ 
faith^ many Bibles^ Family Altars^ Free Press, Flags, and })eaceable 
liberty, especially for their soil and air, which, he says, makes extraordi- 
nary changes on men, though he never was there, and is not sure what 
change they would make on him if he went, — I say, he could not do all 
this without putting his religious iron bull upon the neck of unfortunate 
people (whose position in life is not their crime, but their misfortune), 
with a view to sink them lower in the estimation of the world than even 
Highland and Irish tyrannical landlords and their tools placed them. 
" Take (said the humane Doctor) an Indolent Celt, let him go to to Ame- 
rica, he becomes active, — take a wild Irishman, he becomes civilized, — 
a blind bigoted Papist, his eyes are opened, and he turns his back on 
Rome. These are facts extraordinary; we pour with many good elements 
a singular amount of impurity across the Antlantic, but America does not 
cast it off, it merges, changes, and reforms it like the sea that receives 
many muddy rivers, but keeps it own bosom clean." Now, Sir, the 
Doctor was requested to speak at this meeting to the incompatibility of 
American Slavery with Christianity, and I tell him that all this unfoun- 
ded foulsome calumny which he poured out against Highland and Irish 
Celts, is as incompatible with Christianity as is falsehood with truth, and 
as American Slavery is with Christianity ; and should it be true, it is un- 
called for, and out of order, and that it would be more like a minister 
and expounder of the gospel of truth, if he had said, — take the poor op- 
pressed trodden down Hgihland Celts who have been ejected from every 
portion of their fatherland, created by God susceptible to rear food for 
man, and who were cast upon sterile moors and barren by -corners, to whom 
every inducement or encouragement for activity and industry in their na- 
tive land was sternly denied, — let them go to America, where such are 
cheerfully held out to them, and they will soon become active trustworthy 
members of society, respected, prosper like other men, and bely their lay 
and clerical calumniators. He should continue, and say, — take the poor 
Irish, who could not submit ho tamely to oppression, who were often 
driven to niadnes by legalis(d plunderers, — let them go to America, 
where they are not subject to such ungodly exactions and jHjrsecution as 
in Ireland, and they will soon become as civil, as peaceable, as honest, as 
easily dealt with, and as industrious as other men (indejjendent of the 
miraculous efficacy of the soil and air). But the Doctor says their eyes 
are opened, and they turn their back on Ron)e, — that is to say, on their 
father's religion. I much doubt this applauded assertion. No, Doctor, 
'"it their eyes are open, and they turn their backs on the insatiable Eras* 
iM Church of England in Ireland, aiul see themselves out of the reach 
her cruel Tithe and Tax 0ollectoi*8, &ud far far away from her Bath- 
rmack sabre and batten abettors, where tliey are not annoyed day and 



86 

night by her licensed emissaries of discord, who have for centuries kept 
them and brother Protestants in each other's throats about religion, and 
they now find themselves living among people worthy of the name, where 
every man may believe what he pleases, worship as he pleases; where, if 
he is a good citizen, none will dispute his right, where every man pays 
priest or parson, as he pays his tailor and shoemaker, where they can live 
in harmony among Protestants, Jews, Greeks, Mahometans, Shakers, 
Jumpers, Latter-Day Saints, &c., and where churches of all denominations 
are as free as the Doctor's and mine are. This would be more like Doctor 
Guthrie, for it is the only cause which he or any one else can assign for 
the indolent Celt becoming active, and the wild Irishman becoming civil- 
ized, and not the mysterious efiicacy of the American soil and air. — 
Where, Doctor, under heaven, will you find better soil and air than in Ire- 
land and the Highlands of Scotland. The doctor would have us to believe 
that he would fight for the American Slaves if he would see any of them 
set up for sale — (not so fast. Doctor); — but, strange to tell, that he is 
aware that a Highland landlord, a very few years ago, employed consta- 
bles, policemen and other minions, to apprehend a great number of High- 
landers among the rocks and hills, where they fled for safety, to handcuff 
them, and force them on board an old rotten ship which he hired to 
carry them away from the land of their birth, and should be aware that 
the majority of this people perished, houseless, homeless, among snow and 
frost on the frozen soil, and among the biting air of North America. I 
never heard that the Doctor found fault Avith him for this, far less fight 
with him, although he had only to step over from his own house, with a 
good cudgel, to St Andrew's Square, to meet him; but these were High- 
landers, and had no claim on the Doctor's sympathy or interposition ; yet, 
there is no doubt the Doctor will fight, but the Atlantic must be between 
him and the adversary ; he will fight none at liome. The slave and pauper 
makers in Ireland and Scotland, yea, those who dispersed the brave sons 
of the mountains and valleys of Caledonia, and of Green Erin, to the 
four winds of heaven, the Doctor will stroke their honourable heads, and 
clap them gently, exclaiming, you are the blessed, graceful humane ones 
who are purging our nation from the impure Irish and Scottish Celts, may 
you be spared to see the consummation of your desire. Hearken to his 
sorrow for the pitiless storm of unmerited abuse which was poured on the 
head of a certain noble lady of the Stafford-House meeting, viz: Duchess 
of Sutherland, and he cries aloud, shame to them who did it. And who 
would confound the incidental defects of this country, which, he says, 
are becoming so old and infirm, that her blood-vessels are ossified ^vith. the 
deep-stained sins of America. Dear me. Doctor, I thought a little ago 
that the Americans were most pious; what has become of their 2mre faith , 
Bibles, and Family Altars? Be that as it may, I am neither ashamed 
nor afraid to tell you. Doctor, in the face, that if the number could be 
computed and compared, that Highland and Irish landlords sent more 
human beings to a premature grave, and caused a greater amount of 
pining and grief than ever the slave lords of America did since America 
became a Eepublic, and that if it was not for America, they would triple 



87 

the number. Now, hearken to the Doctor's sympathy with the poor 
needle woman. He exultingly bawls out at this meeting, — but does our 
law compel them to work 1 6 hours a-day. True, Oh, Doctor ! it does not 
but the law of nature does, for they would rather do it than starve, and 
there is no other alternative ; but does that lessen their pain ? The Doc- 
tor says — can they not go elsewhere and get better wages? — miscalled 
humanity — how far can penniless, helpless, and unprotected women go 
in search of work, or of better wages ? and where would they go. Doctor 1 
The Doctor says that liberty speaks no tongue but Saxon, and only found 
among Saxon j)eople. What has become of the Tongues of Hungarian, 
Italian, and Polish patriots 1 Oh, Doctor, Doctor, you are away with it 
now, but with all your fawning and pandering in quest of Aristocratic 
adulation and honour, the Saxons themselves can scarcely believe you. 
At present I will leave you by merely advising you not to go to America, 
especially in an impaired state of health, for fear you may lose your no- 
tion of Rags and Sou/)-Kitche)is among the slaves and slave lords of 
America, and on the Queen's first visit to Edinburgh, decline to be crea- 
ted Bishop of the Ragged Schools of Scotland, for you really merit the 
honour. While I join with you in your quotation from the Poet, viz. — 

We but ask our rocky strand, v 

Freedom's true and brother band — 
Freedom's strong and honest band ; 
Valleys by the slave untrod. 
And the pilgiim's mountain sod, 
Blessed by our Father's God. 

I pray that their numbers may be few, who will be so unfortunate as to 
come within the bounds of of the Docter's sympathy. Yours, <fec, 

DONALD McLEOD. 

Doctor Guthrie did err in some expressions ho made use of at that 
meeting, and he erred more so in going to the meeting at all, yet I love 
him and respect him as a Christian minister and sympathiser with suffer- 
ing humanity. You would have left him unmentioned as you left the 
other orators, were it not for his praise of Duchesses and English ladies, 
and his sarcasm and retorts upon Mrs. Tyler, and you only held his name 
up for his (juaintness and drollery, fearing to offend the English ladies by 
letting them know that there was any talent in Scotland ; but I tell you that 
it would take all the bishops in Enffland to compose and deliveran address or 
speech any thing equal to the other more sublime portions of his speech 
that night. But I will leave the worthy Rev. Doctor j he caught grief 
enough from his own bretliren in the church, and from other quarters, for 
being at the meeting, and it is a great pity ho was there. And I ask you 
what has become of this nioney, and what have you done with it — not 
with this £1,000, but with the many thousands you have got in Scotland 
and England. Here is the express conditions upon which you got it, from 
the mouth of Mr. Ballantine, Secretary for the anti-Slavery Society, after 
detailing the jirogress of the penny offering at this meeting, he says ; — "It 
was accordingly proposed to appeal to the readers of Uncle Tom's Cabin in 



88 

Scotland to contribute one penny each to create a fund to be placed in the 
hands of Mrs. Stowe to be distributed by her for the benefit of the slave, and 
for the cause of emancipation. That appeal was made, and it has been 
promptly and cordially responded to. The result of that appeal is now 
before you — (cheers). I cannot state precisely what amount of money 
has been collected, as sums are still daily coming in, but up to this hour 
it presents itself in the form of 1000 sovereigns" — (loud cheering.) I 
have all their speeches here before me, and in case my readers may think 
that I am exaggerating the adulation of Mrs. Stowe in Edinburgh, you 
have a verse here, which, along with other seven verses of the comj^osition, 
was sung before her by one of the speakers : — 

Freedom's angel now's come, 
Mercy's sister now's come : 
Grim oppression drees his doom : 

Harriet Beecher Stowe's come. 

Would you meet such a reception in Scotland now 1 No. You have 
let the veil of deception drop unawares. Now you will excuse me, Madam, 
for directing your attention to chapter 17 of your Sunny Memories, where 
you have attacked me individually, though clandestinely, in order to 
justify the House and Duchess of Sutherland from the charges brought 
against them in the American prints. You say — "My Dear C. — As to 
the ridiculous stories about the Duchess of Sutherland, which found their 
way into many of the American prints, one has only to be here moving in 
society to see how excessively absurd they are. In all these circles I have 
heard the great and noble of the land spoken of and canvassed, and if 
there had been the shadow of a foundation for any such accusation, 1 cer- 
tainly should have heard it recognised in some manner. As I have before 
intimated, the Howard family, to which the Duchess belongs, is one which 
has always been on the side of popular rights and popular reform. Lord 
Carlisle, her brother, has been a leader of the people during the time of 
the Corn Law reformation, and she has been known to take a wide and 
generous interest in all these subjects." Heavens ! by whom, was she 
known to be so. Madam, — you have discovered mysteries that were never 
known before, none under heaven heard it before. 

*' Go ! if your ancient but ignoble blood, 

Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood — 

Go ! and pretend your family is young ; 

Nor own your fathers have been fools so long. 

What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards; 

Not all the blood of all the Howards." — Pope. 

You say, " Imagine, then, what people must think when they find in 
7-cspectable American prints the absurd stories of her turning her tenants 
out into the snow, and ordering the cottages to be set on fire over their 
heads, because they would not go out." ''But, if you ask how such an 
absurd story could ever have been made up, whether there is the least 
foundation to make it on, I answer that it is the exaggerated report of a 



89 

movement made by the present duke of Sutherland's father, in the year 
1811, and which was a part of a great movement that passed through the 
Highlands of Scotland, when the advancing progress of civilization began 
to make it necessary to change the estates from military to agricultural es- 
tablishments." You go on then detailing the results of the union of Eng- 
land and Scotland, the situation of the Sutherland estate in the map of 
the Highlands. You say, " The general agent of the estate of Sutherland 
is ^Mr. Loch." You are right, he was, and you provided a place for his 
whole speech before the House of Commons, on the second reading of the 
Scotch Poor Law Bill, June 12th, 1845, where he strenuously endeavoured 
to vindicate and exonerate himself and His Grace of Sutherland from the 
charges of cruelty and injustice to the people, brought against them in 
that House on that occasion by Mr. Crawford. No wonder that he ex- 
erted himself that day to silence his opponents, and to dupe the House. 
He was 21 years a member in the House for the Northern Boroughs, and 
this is the only speech of his which found its way to the public prints, or 
considered worthy of being borrowed or copied by any other print. (The 
honour of it was left for you alone Madam.) If I am not mistaken the 
very day this speech was delivered in the House of Commons, the case of 
a poor cripple woman, from the parish of Farr, Sutherlandshire, was de- 
cided against His Grace, in the Court of Session, Edinburgh, and I had 
7 1 more cases from his estate at the same time, in the hands of a solicitor, 
all pursuing his Grace for the support the law of the land provided for 
them, but denied them. Yet I find in your quotations from Mr. Loch's 
sj^ech, this — " Therefore the statements that have been made, so far from 
being correct, are in every way an exaggeration of what is the fact. No 
portion of the kingdom has advanced in prosperity so much ; and if the 
honourable member, Mr. S. Crawford, will go down there, I will give him 
every facility to see the state of the people, and he shall judge with his 
own eyes whether my representation be not correct ^^ ,^ ,|c But I will 
not troubje the House ^ ^ ^ the statements I have made are accu- 
rate, and I am quite ready to prove them, any way that is necessary." To 
follow this tiiimpeted vp sjttech of Mr. Loch in your "Sunny Memories," 
would be lost time, and abuse of ink, paper, and type. Every Highlander 
over which he had any control, or had the least transaction with liini, 
experimentally knew him to be the greatest deceiver, and the most avowed 
enemy of the Celtic race that ever existed ; hence I will confine myself to 
a few remarks which will be corroborated l>y hundreds of living witncjises. 
*' In the yeare 1812-13 and 1816-17, so great was their misery, that it was 
necessary to send down oatmeal for their supply, to the auiount of £2,200, 
and that given to them." (The phrase given signifies gratis.) I know 
meal was sent these years to the amount of nearly one thinl of tho stated 
amount ; but I know for a certainty that the |)eople had to pay this trum- 
peted up charity at the rate of X2 ^'8. sterling per boll. I knew my own 
father to pay it with cattle, and on the least calculation he handed over t<> 
his Grace, or his factor, eight jwunds of good Highland l>eef for every 
pound of course oatmeal he received three months prior; and so did every 
one, who paid for that meal in kind. His Gi-ace's libci-ality to kirk ses- 



90 

sions, and the poor viz. " £450-ayear ;" to say the least, this is monstrous 
exaggeration. He says, " before 1812 there were no bakers, and only two 
shops in the county, and two blacksmiths." Now Madam, I can tell you^ 
(and hundreds will back me) that before 1812 there were thousands of 
bakers in Sutherlandshire, and had plenty to bake, and that for time im- 
memorial prior to that date, they never needed charity or supply of oat- 
meal from their chiefs or any one else. Prior to 1812, and as long as I 
can remember, there were 26 shops in the county, and 31 blacksmiths. 
There was scarcely a parish in the county but there were two blacksmiths 
employed. The Sutherland people never knew what want was, until they 
became subjected to Loch's iron sway. You go on and say, "What led 
me more particularly to inquire into these facts was, that I received by mail 
while in London, an account containing some of these stories which had 
been so industriously circulated in America: these were dreadful accounts 
of cruelties practised, in the process of inducing the tenants to change 
their places of residences." The following is a specimen of these stories : 

" I was present at the pulling down and burning of the house of Wil- 
liam Chisholm, Badinloskin, in which was lying his wife's mother, an old 
bedridden woman, of near one hundred years of age, none of the family 
being at home. I informed the party about to set fire to the house of the 
circumstance, and prevailed on them to stop till Mr. Sellar would come; on 
his arrival, T told him of the poor old woman being in a condition unfit for 

removal. He replied, ' D n her, she has lived too long, let her burn.' 

Fire was immediately set to the house, and the blankets in which she was 
carried were in flames before she could be got out. She was placed in a 
little shed, and it was with great difficulty they were prevented from firing 
that also. The old woman's daughter arrived while the house was on fire, 
and assisted the neighbours in removing her out of the flames and smoke, 
presenting a picture of horror which I shall never forget, but cannot at- 
tempt to describe : she died in five days." 

'' With regard to this story, Mr. Loch the agent says. ' I must notice the 
only thing like a fact stated in the newspaper extract which you sent me, 
wherein Mr. Sellar is accused of acts of cruelty toward some of the people. 
This Mr. Sellar tested by bringing an action against the then sheriff-sub- 
stitute of the county. He obtained a verdict for heavy damages. The sher- 
iff, by whom the slander was propogated, left the county. Both ai-e since 
dead." 

Having, through Lord Shaftesbury's kindness, received the benefit of 
Mr. Loch's corrections to this statement, I am permitted to make a little 
further extract from his reply. He says — 

''In addition to what I was able to say in my former paper, I can now 
state that the Duke of Sutherland has received from one of the most deter- 
mined opposers of the measure, who travelled to the north of Scotland as 
editor of a n^^wspaper, a letter regretting all he had written on the subject, 
being convinced tliat he was entirely misinformed. As you take so much 
interest in the subject, I will conclude by saying that nothing could exceed 
the prosperity of the county during the past year; their stock, sheep, and 



91 

other things sold at high prices ; their crops of grain and turnips were never 
so good, and the potatoes were free from all disease : rents have been paid 
better than was ever known .... As an instance of the improved habits 
of the farmers, no house is now built for them that they do not require a 
hot-bath and water-closets." 

From this long epitome you can gather the following results: first, if the 
system was a bad one, the Duchess of Sutherland had nothing to do with 
it, since it was first introduced in 1806, the same year her grace was bom; 
and the accusation against Mr. Sellar dates in 1811, when her grace was 
five or six years old. The Sutherland arrangements were completed in 1 8 1 9, 
and her Grace was not married to the duke till 1823, so that, had the ar- 
rangement been the worst in the world, it is nothing to the purpose .so far 
as she is concerned. 

As to whether the arrangement is a bad one, the facts whieh have been 
stated speak for themselves. To my view, it is an almost sublime instance 
of the benevolent employment of superior wealth and ])Ower in shortening 
the struggles of advancing civilization, and elevating in a few years a whole 
community to a point of education and material prosperity which, unas- 
sisted, they might never have obtained." 

Yes, Madam, a "sublime instance," you say, "of the benevolent em- 
ployment of superior wealth and power in shortening the struggles of 
advancing civilization." I say yes, indeed, the shortest process of civil- 
ization we have recorded in the history of nations. {Oh marvellous I ) 
From the year 1812 to 1820, the whole interior of the county of Suther- 
land, whose inhabitants were advancing rapidly in the science of agricul- 
ture and education, who by nature and exemplary training were the bravest, 
the most moral, and patriotic people that ever existed, — even admitting a 
few of them did violate the excise laws, (the only sin which Mr. Loch and 
all the rest of their avowed enemies could bring against them,) — where a 
body of men could be raised on the shortest possible notice, that kuujs and 
emptfors might and would be i)roud of; and the whole fertile valleys, and 
straths which gave them birth, were in due season waving with corn; 
their mountains and hill sides studded with sheep and cattle; when re- 
joicing, felicity, happiness, and true piety prevailed; where the marshal 
notes of the bagpipes sounded and reverberated from mountain to glen, from 
glen t-o mountain: I say marvellous! in tight years converted to a solitary 
wilderness, where the voice of man praising God is not to be heard, nor 
the inmg(^ of God upon man not to be seen; where you can set a com})a8S 
with twenty miles of a radius uj»on it, and go round with it full stretched 
and not find one acre of land within the circumference, which came under 
the plough for the last thirty years, except a few in the parishes of Lairg 
and Tongue, — all under mute brute animals. This is the advancement of 
civilization, is it not Madam 1 Keturn now, with me, to the beginning of 
your elaborate eulofjt/ on the Duchess of Sutherland, and if you are open 
to conviction, 1 think you should be convinced that I never publihhed, 
nor circulated in the American, English, or Scotch public prints any 
ridiculous absurd stories about her grace of Sutherland. An abridgement 
of my lucubrations are now in the hands of the public, and you may per- 



92 

use them. I stand by them as facts, {stuhhorn cheils,) I can prove them 
to be so even in this country, by a cloud of living witnesses, and my read- 
ers will find that, instead of bringing excessive absurd accusations against 
her Grace, that 1 have endeavoured, in some instances, to screen her and 
her predecessors from the public odium their own policy, and the doings 
of their servants, merited. Moreover, there is thirty years since I began 
to expostulate with the house of Sutherland for their shortsighted policy 
in dealing with their people as they were doing, and it is twenty years 
since I began to expose them publicly, with my real plain name, Donald 
M'Leod attached to each letter, and a copy of the public paper where it 
appeared, directed and sent by post to the Duke of Sutherland. These 
exposing and remonstrating letters were published in the Edinburgh papers 
where the Duke and his predecessors had their principal Scotch law agent, 
and you may easily believe that I was closely watched, so as to find one 
false accusation in my letters, but they were baffled. I am well aware that 
every one letter I have written on the subject would constitute a true libel, 
and I knew the editors, printers, and pul)lishers of these papers were as 
liable or responsible for true libel as I was. But the House of Sutherland 
could never venture to raise an action of damages against either of us. In 
1841, when I published my first pamphlet, I paid $4 50, for binding one 
of them in splendid style, which I sent by mail to his grace the present 
Duke of Sutherland with a complimentary note, requesting him to peruse 
it, and let me know if it contained anything ofiensive or untrue. I never 
received a reply, nor did I expect it, yet I am satisfied that his grace per- 
used it. I posted a copy of it to Mr. Loch, his chief commissioner; to 
Mr. W. Mackenzie, his chief lawyer, Edinburgh; and to every one of 
their underlinsis, and- sheep farmers, and ministers in the county of Suth- 
erland who abbetted the depopulators, and I challenge the whole of them 
and other literary scourges who aided and justified their unhallowed doings, 
to gainsay one statement I have made. Can you, or any other believe, 
that a poor sinner like Donald M'Leod would be allowed for so many years 
to escape with impunity, had he been circulating and publishing calum- 
nious absurd falsehoods against such personages as the House of Suther- 
land. No, I tell you, if money could secure my punishment, without es- 
tablishing their own shame and guilt, that it would be considered well 
spent hmg ere now, — they would eat me in penny pies if they could get 
me cooked for them. 

I agree with you that the Duchess of Sutherland is a beautiful accom- 
plished lady, who would shudder at the idea of taking a faggot or a burn- 
ing torch in her hand, to set fire to the cottages of her tenants, and so 
would her predecessor, the first Duchess of Sutherland, her good mother; 
likewise would the late and present Dukes of Sutherland, at least I am 
willing to believe that they would. Yet is was done in their name, under 
their authority, to tljeir knowledge, and with their sanction. The Dukes 
and Duchesses of Sutherland, and those of their depopulating order, had 
not, nor has any call to defile their pure hands in milder work than to burn 
people's houses; no, no, they had, and have plenty of willing tools at 
their beck to perform their dirty work. Whatever amount of humanity 



98 

and purity of heart the late or the present duke and duchess may possess 
or be ascribed to them, we know the class of men from whom they selected 
their commissioners, factors and underlings. I knew every one of these 
wicked servants who ruled the Sutherland estate for the last fifty years, 
and I am justified in saying that the most skilful phrenologist and physi- 
ognomist that ever existed could not discern one spark of humanity in the 
whole of them, from Mr. Loch down to Donald Sginos, or in other words, 
damnable Donald, the name by which he was known. The most part of 
those vile executors of the atrocities I have been describing are now dead,, 
and to be feared but not lamented. But it seems the chief were left to 
give you all the information you required about British slavery and o])pres- 
sion. I have read from speeches delivered by Mr. Loch at public dinners 
among his own party, " that he would never be satined until the Gaelic 
language and the Gaelic people would be extirpated root and branch from 
the Sutherland estate ; yes, from the highlands of Scotland." He published 
a book, where he stated as a positive fact, that "when he got the manage- 
ment of the Sutherland estate, that he found 408 families on the estate 
who never heard the name of Jesus," — whereas I could make an oath that 
there were not at that time, and for ages prior to it, above two families 
within the limits of the county who did not worship that name, and holy 
Being every morning and evening. I know there are hundreds in the 
Canadas who will bear me out in this assertion. I was at the pulling 
down and burning of the house of William Chisholm, I got my hands 
burnt taking out the poor old woman from amidst the flames of her once 
comfortable though humble dwelling, and a more horrifying and lamenta- 
ble scene could scarcely be witnessed. I may say the skeleton of once a 
tall, robust high-cheek-boned respectable woman, who had seen better days, 
who could neither hear, see, nor speak, without a tooth in her mouth, her 
cheek skin meeting in the centre, her eyes sunk out of sight in their 
sockets, her mouth wide open, her nose standing upright among smoke 
and flames, uttering piercing moans of distress and agony, in articulations 
from which could be only understood, Oh, Dhia, DJiia, tend, teitif— oh God, 
God, fire, fire! When she came to the pure air her bosom heaved to 
a most extraordinary degree, accompanied by a deep hollow sound from 
the lungs, comparable to the sound of thunder at a distance. When laid 
down ujwn the bare, soft, mosfe floor of the roofless shed, I will never 
forget the foam of perapinUion which emitted and covered the jiallid death- 
looking countenance. This was a scene, Madam, worthy d an artist's 
pencil, and of a conspicuous place on the stages of tragedy. Yet you call 
this a specimen of the ridiculous stories which found their way into 
respectable prints, because Mr. Loch, the chief actor, told you that Sellar, 
the head executive, brought an action against the sheriff and obtained a 
verdict for heavy damages. What a subterfuge ; but it will not answer 
the purpose, *''tfie bed ig too short to stretch yourscfj] and the coOcn'tiff too 
narrow and short to cover f/ou" If you took your information and 
evidence upon which you founded your Undo Tom's cabin from such dis- 
creditable sources, (as I said Injfore), who can believe the one-t€nth of 
your novel 1 / cannot. I have at my hand here the grand-child of the 



94 

innrderecl old woman, who recollects well of the circumstance. I have not 
far from me a respectable man, an elder in the Free Church, who was 
examined as a witness at Scllar's trial, at the spring assizes of Inverness, 
1816, which you will find narrated in letters four and five of my work. 
I think, Madam, had you the opportunity of seeing the scenes which I, 
and hundreds more, have seen, and see the ferocious appearance of the 
infamous yajir/, who constituted the burning party, covered over face 
and hands with soot and ashes of the burning houses, cemented by 
torch grease and their own sweat, kept continually drunk or half drunk, 
while at work; and to observe the hellish amusements some of them 
would get up for themselves and for an additional pleasure to their leaders. 
The people's houses were generally built upon declivities, and in many 
cases not far from pretty steep precipices, they preserved their meal 
in tight made boxes, or chests, as they were called ; when this fiendish 
party found any quantity of meal, they would carry it between them to 
the brink, and dispatch it down the precipice amidst shrieks and yells ; 
this was considered grand sport to see the box breaking to atoms and the 
meal mixed with the air. When they would set fire to a house, they 
would watch any of the domestic animals making their escape from the 
flames, such as dogs, cats, hens or any poultry, these were caught and 
thrown back to the flames ; grand sport for demons in human form. 
I assure you the Dukes and Duchesses of Sutherland had no need to try 
their hand at burning houses while James Loch, William Young, Patrick 
Sellar, Francis Suther, John Horseburgh, Captain Kenneth M'Kay, and 
Angus Leslie were alive, nor while George Loch, George Gunn, and Robt. 
Horseburgh, <fec., is alive. Mr. Seller (as I said before) was brought to 
trial for culpable homicide and tire- raising ; and those dog, cat, and hen 
murderers who acted under him and took act and part with him were the 
exculpatory witnesses, who saved his neck from a sudden jerk, or himself 
from teasing oakum in the hulks for many years. As to this vaunted letter 
his " Grace received from one of the most determined ojDposers of the 
measures, who travelled in the north of Scotland as editor of a newspaper 
regretting all that he had written on the subject, being convinced that he 
was misinformed." I may tell you. Madam, that this man did not travel 
to the north, or in the north of Scotland as editor ; his name was Thomas 
Mullock, he came to Scotland a fanatic speculator in literature in search of 
money, or a lucrative situation, vainly thinking that he would be a dicta- 
tor to every editor in Scotland, he first attacked the immortal Hugh Miller 
of the Witness, Edinburgh, but in him he met more than his match. He 
then went to the north, got hold of my first pamphlet, and by setting it 
up in a literary style, and in better English than I did, he made a 
splendid and promising appearance in the northern papers for some time, 
but he found out that the money expected was not coming in, and he 
found that the hotels, head inns, and taverns, would not keep him up any 
longer without the prospect of being paid for the past or for the future. I 
found out that he was hard up, and a few of the highlanders in Edinburgh 
and myself, sent him from twenty to thirty pounds sterling. When he 
saw that that was all he was to get, he at once turned tail upon us, and 



95 

instead of expressing his gratitude, he abused us unsparingly, and 
regretted that ever he wrote in behalf of such a hungry, moneyless class. 
He smelled (like others we suspect) where the gold was hoarded up for 
hypocrites, and flatterers, and that one aj)ologizing letter to his grace would 
be worth ten times as much as he could expect from the highlanders all 
his lifetime, and I doubt not but it was, for his apology for the sin of mis- 
information got wide circulation. 

He then went to France and started an English paper in Paris, and for 
the service he rendered Napoleon in crushing republicanism during the 
besieging of Rome, &c., the Emperor presented him with a Gold Piiiy 
and in a few days afterwards sent a O'endatvie to Mullock with a brief 
notice that his service was not any longer required, and a warning to quit 
France in a few days, which he had to do. What became of him after I 
know not, but very likely he is dictating to young Loch, or some other 
Mettenitch. 

No feelings of hostile vindictiveness, no desire to inflict chastisement, 
no desire to make riches, influenced my mind, i)Ourtraying the scenes of 
havoc and misery which in those past days darkened the annals of Suther- 
lund, I write in my own humble style with higher aims, wishing to prepare 
the way for demonstrating to the Dukes of Sutherland, and all other High- 
land proprietors, great and small, that the path of selfish aggrandisement 
nnd oppression, leads by sure and inevitable results, yea to tlie ruin and 
I-'stiuction of the blind and misguided oppressors themselves. I consider 
ihe Duke himself victimised on a largo scale by an incurable wrong system 
and by being enthralled by wicked counsellors, and servants. I have no 
hesitation in saying, had his Grace and his predecessors, bestowed one 
lialf of the encouragement they had bestowed upon strangers, uj)on the 
aborigines, a hardy, healthy, abstemious people, who lived ])eaceably in 
their primative habitations, unaflected with the vices of a subtle civiliza- 
tion, possessing little, but enjoying much; a race devoted to their heredi- 
tary chief, ready to abide by his counsels, a race profitable in j)eace, and 
loyal available in war ; I say his Grace, the i)resent Duko of Sutherland, 
and his beautiful Duchess, would be without compeers in the British 
dominions their rents at least doubled, would be as secure from invasion 
and annoyance in Dunrobin Castle as Queen Victoria could, or can bo, in 
her Highland residence, Balmoral, and far safer than she is in her 
Knglish home, Buckingham Palace ; every man and son of Sutherland would 
' ready, as in the days of yore, to shed the last drop of blood in defence 
of their patron, if required. Congratulations, rejoicings, dancing to the 
marshal not<;s of the pipes, would meet them at the entrance to every 
Olen and Strath in Sutherlandshire, accompanied, surroundcnl, and 
greeted as they proceeded, by the most grateful, devotedly attached, 
happy, and bravest peasantry, that ever existed; yes, but alasl where 
there is nothing now but desolation and the cries of famine and want to 
meet the noble pair, the ruins of once comfortable dwellings, will be seen 
the land marks of the furrows and ridges which yielded food to thousandfl, 
the footprints of the arch enemy of hunian happiness, and ravager before, 
after, and on each side, solitude, stillness, and (juiet of the cfmve, disturbed 



96 

only at intervals by the yells of a shepherd, or fox-hunter, and the bark of a 
collie dog. Surely we must admit the Marquises and Dukes of the house of 
Sutherland have been duped, and victimized to a most extraordinary and in- 
creditable extent, and we have jNlr. Loch's own words for it in his speech in 
the House of Commons, June 21st, 1845, "I can state, as from facts, that 
from 1811 to 1833, not one sixpence of rent has been received from that 
county; but on the contrary, there has been sent there for the benefit and 
improvement of the people, a sum exceeding sixty thousand pounds, ster- 
ling." Now think you of this immense wealth which has been expended, I 
am not certain, but I think the rental of the county would exceed £60,000 
a year, you have then from 1811 to 1833, twenty -two years, leaving them 
at the above figures, and the sum total will amount to £1,320,000 expen- 
ded upon the self styled Sutherland improvements, add to this £60,000 
sent down to preserve the lives of the victims of those improvements from 
death by famine, and the sum total will turn out in the shape of £1,380,- 
000 ; it surely cost the heads of the house of Sutherland an immense sum 
of money to convert the county into the state I have described it, in a 
former part of this work, (and I challenge contradiction), I say the ex- 
pelling of the people from their Glens and Straths, and huddling them in 
motely groups on the sea-shores, and barren moors, and to keep them alive 
there, and to make them willing to be banished from the nation, when they 
thought proper, or when they could get a haul of the public money, to pay 
their passage to America or Australia, cost them a greal deal. This 
fabulous incredible munificence of their Graces to the people, I will leave 
the explanation of what it was, how it was distributed, and the manner in 
which payment and refunding of the whole of it was exacted off the people, 
to my former description of it in this work; yet I am willing to admit 
that a very small portion, if any, of the refunding of the amount sent 
down, ever reach the Duke's or the Marquis's coffers, which is easily 
understood by not granting receipts for it. Whatever particle of good 
the present I)uke might feel inclined to do, will be ever frustrated by the 
counteracting energy of a prominent evil principle; I knew the adopting 
and operations of the Loch policy towards the Sutherland peasantry, cost 
the present Duke and his father many thousands of pounds, and, I pre- 
dict, will continue to cost them on a large scale while a Loch is at the 
head of their affairs, and principal adviser. Besides how may they 
endanger what is far more valuable than gold and silver ; for those who 
are advised by men who never sought counsel or advice from God, all 
their lifetime, as their work will testify, do hazard much, and are trifling 
with omniscience, 

You should be surprised to hear and learn, Madam, for what purposes 
the most of the money drained from the Duke's coffers yearly are ex- 
pended, since he became the Duke and proprietor of Sutherland, and 
upholding the Loch policy. There are no fewer than seventeen who are 
known by the name of Water Bailiffs, in the county, who receive yearly 
salaries, what doing, think you ? protecting the operations of the Loch 
policy, watching day and night the fresh water lakes, rivers, and creeks, 
teeming with the finest salmon and trout fish in th^ world, guarding from 



97 

the famishing people, even during the years of famine and dire distress^ 
when many had to subsist upon weeds, sea ware, and shellfish, yet guarded 
and preserved for the amusement of English anglers ; and what is still 
more heai-t-rending, to prevent the dying by hunger to pick up any of the- 
dead fish left by the sporting anglers, rotting on the lake, creek, and 
river sides, when the smallest of them, or a morsel, would be considered 
by hundreds, I may say thousands of the needy natives, a treat, but 
durst not touch them, or if they did and found out, to jail they were 
conducted, or removed summarily from his Grace's domains ; (let me be 
understood, these gentlemen had no use of the fish, only killing them for 
amusement, only what they required for their own use, and complimented 
to the factors, they were not permitted to cure them). 

You will find, Madam, that alxjut three miles from Dunrobin Castle 
there if a branch of the sea which extends up the county about six miles, 
where shellfish called mussels, abounds ; here you will find there are twa 
sturdy men, called mussel bailiffs, supplied with rifles and ammunition 
and as many Newfoundland dogs as assistants, watching the mussel scalp, 
or beds, to preserve them from the people in the surrounding parishes of 
Dornoch, Rogart, and Golspie, and keep them to supply the fishermen on 
the opposite side of the Moray Firth with bait, who come there every 
year and take away thousands of tons of this nutritive shellfish, when 
many hundreds of the people would be thankful for a diet per day of them, 
to pacify the cravings of nature. You will find the unfortunate native 
fisherman who pays a yearly rent to his Grace for bait, that they are only 
permitted theirs from the refuse left by the strangers of the other side of 
the Moray Firth, and if they violate the iron rule laid down to them, they 
are entirely at the mercy of the underlings : there has been an instance of 
two of the fishermen's wives going on a snowy, frosty, day, to gather bait, 
but on account of the boisterous sea, could not reach the place appointed by 
the factors ; and one took what they required from the forbidden ground, 
and was observed by some of the bailiffs in ambush, who pursued them like 
tigers, one came up to her unobserved, took out his knife and cut the sti-aps 
by which the basket or creel on her back was suspended, the weight on 
her back fell to the ground, and she, poor woman, big in the family way, 
fell her whole length forward in the snow and frost, another turned 
round to see what happened, and he pushed her back with such force that 
she fell her whole length; he then trampled /their baskets and mus- 
sels to atoms, and took them both prisioners, ordered one to go and call 
his superior bailiff to assist him, and kept the other for two hours stand- 
ing wet as she was, among frost and snow until the superior came a dis- 
tance of three miles. After a short consultation upon the enormity of 
the crime, the two poor women were led like convicted criminals to 
Golspie, to appear before Licurgus Gunn, and in that deplorable condition 
were left standing before their own doors in the snow, until Marshal Gunn 
found it convenient to api>ear to pronounce judgment, — verdict; You are 
allowed to go into your houses this night, this day week you must leave 
this village forever, and the whole of the fishermen fo the village are 
strictly prohibited from taking bait from the Little Ferry until you leave; 



98 

my bailiffs are requested to see this my decree strictly attended to. Being 
the middle of winter and heavy snow, they delayed a week longer: ulti- 
mately the \dllagers had to expel the two families from among them, so as 
they would get bait, having nothing to depend upon for subsistence 
but the fishing, and fish they could not M'ithout bait. This is a specimen 
of the injustice and subjugation of the Golspie fishermen, and of the peo- 
ple at large ; likewise of the purposes for which the duke's money is ex- 
pended in that quarter. If you go then, to the other side of the domain, 
you will find another kyle, or a branch of the sea which abounds in cockles 
and other shellfish, which, fortunately for the poor people, are not 
forbidden by a Loch Ukase. But in the years of distress, when the people 
were principally living upon vegetables, sea weeds and shellfish, various 
diseases made their appearance among them, hitherto unknown. The ab- 
sence of meal of any kind being considered the primary cause ; some of 
the people thought they would be permitted to exchange shellfish for meal 
with their more fortunate neighbours in Caithness, to Avhom such shell- 
fish were a rarity, and so far the understanding went between them, that 
the Caithness boats came up loaded with meal, but the Loch embargo, 
through his underling in Tongue, who was watching their movements, 
were at once placed upon it, and the Caithness boats had to return home 
with the meal, and the duke's people might die or live, as they best could. 
Now, Madam, you have steeped your brains, and ransacked the English 
language to find refined terms for your panegyric on the duke, duchess, 
and family of Sutherland. (I find no fault with you, knowing you have 
been well paid for it.) But I would briefly ask you (and others who de- 
voted much of their time and talent in the same strain,) would it not be 
more like a noble pair, who, (if they did) merit such noble praise as you 
have bestowed upon them, if they had, especially during years of famine 
and distress, freely opened up all these bountiful resources which God in 
his eternal wisdom and goodness prepared for his people, and which 
should never be intercepted nor restricted by man or men. You and others 
have composed hymns of praise, which it is questionable if there is a tune 
in heaven to sing -them to. 

So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: 
and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter ; and 
on the side of their oppressors there was power ; but they had no comforter — Ec- 
CLES. iv.l. 

'* The wretch that works and weeps without relief 

Has one that notices his silent grief. 

He, from whose hands alone all pow'r proceeds, 

Eanks its abuse among the foulest deeds, 

Considers all injustice with a frown, 

But marks the man that treads his fellow down. 

Remember Heav'n has an avenging rod — 

To smite the poor is treason against God." — Cowper. 

But you shall find the duke's money is expended for most astonishing 
purposes ; not a little of it goes to hire hypocrites and renowned literary 
flatterers, to vindicate the mal-ad ministration of those to whom he en- 
trusted the management of his affairs, and make his grace, (who is by 



99 

nature a simple-minded man) believe his servants are innocent of all the 
charges brought against them, and doing justice to himself and to hig 
people, when they are doing the greatest injustice to both; so that in- 
stead of calling his servants to account at any time, and enquiring into 
the broad charges brought against them — as every wise landlord should 
do — it seems the greater the enormities of foul deeds they commit, and 
the louder their accusation may sound through the land, the farther they 
are received into his favour. The fact is, that James Loch was Duke 
of Sutherland, and not the "tall, slender man with rather a thin face, 
light brown hair, and mild blue eyes" who armed you up the extraor- 
dinary elegant staircase in Stafford House: and Geordy Loch, his son, 
succeeded his father, and the duke will have no more control over 
him than he had over the old fox. The Duke of Sutherland would 
neither need foreign or home eulogisers, were it not for the unhallowed 
crew he has chosen to manage his affairs. Read the following humble 
appeal of his grace for a certificate of character. In the year 1848, 
"Duke of Sutherland, and those entrusted with the management of his 
vast possessions, preferred a somewhat queer request to the Highland 
Distribution Committee, viz. for *the service of the Committee's staff' 
to report whether he, [his gi-ace] had adequately fulfilled his self-imposed 
responsibilities." That the Duke should require a certificate of good 
behaviour towards his people is undoubtedly a little odd indeed, and at 
the expense of a public charity ; but such was the case, and Captain 
Elliot, Inspector General of the Board, received orders "to attend to the 
duke's wishes." The result of the Captain's mission to Sutherland was 
a high flown report, extolling the ducal bounty towards his Sutherlanders, 
which utterly excluded the necessity of any aid from the Committee, al- 
though he knew well that hundreds of bolls of the charity meal were 
there at that time, but which was studiously kept out of view, that the 
duke might have the honour and praise of supporting his peo})le. But 
what was my surprise to find in the next published proceedings of the 
Committee, a correspondence with Mr. Loch, M.P., the duke's pre- 
mier, who put the Committee in mind that his grace had formerly sub- 
scribed £1000 to the fund, and conjoined with this reminiscence, a sup- 
plication to the committee to grant his noble employer the sum of £3500 
to help towards the relief of the poor people of Sutherland. Subse- 
quently the duke's petition was acceded to, with this preconcerted modi- 
fication, namely, that the money was not to be expended for the relief 
of the poor Sutherlanders, but "on the formation of a road bisecting his 
grace's territory in the most favourable direction," (Mr. Loch's own 
words.) The premier goes then to prove the vast utility of the road in 
question, (planned by himself, and to be executed by the Committee,) it 
being designed to stretch from Inchnadamp in Assynt, to the boundary 
of the county of Caithness. Now, Madam, 1 can tell you, and hundreds 
of my countrymen in Canada, and thousands of them at home can tell 
you, (as I have said before) that not one single native of Sutherland will 
ever reap any benefit of this road, every inch of it going through a soli- 
tary wilderness, and deer forests, where mou are forbidden to travel, — 



100 

exclusively for the benefit of his grace's deer stalkers, game keepers, 
and shepherds. 

It is evident from the above correspondence between the dishonour- 
able Celtic hater aud destroyer, Mr. Locli, and the audacious trust be- 
traying, base, Edinburgh Committee, that there was pre-arrangement be- 
tween the unprincipled parties to increase his grace's riches, with £3500 
of poor famishing people's money. Yes, with a sum which would make 
3400 destitute families sing for joy by the distribution of this amount 
among them. (Another report which was latterly published in the 
Edinburgh papers, states that his grace got £6000.) These are unde- 
niable facts ; but who can believe that it could be endured in christian- 
ised Scotland ; that an owner of such large possessions should be so un- 
scrupulously voted such a sum, out of the funds gathered from the 
benevolent in every quarter of the globe. Did Scotch private soldiers 
under the tropics subscribe out of their scanty pay, to enable the notori- 
ous Mr. Skene, and his committee, to takethe free gift of £6000, or even 
£3500 of the relief distribution money to make a road from Inchnadamp, 
in Assynt, to Caithness, exclusively for his own use, or to any other 
Highland proprietor ; yet according to the reports of the infamous com- 
mittee, obscure as they were studiously kept, they show that after the 
ducal and lordly gifts were granted, the net balance at the credit of the 
Treasurer was £38,000, and the bulk of this balance in hand was 
dedicated to the relief of Highland distressed proprietors, leaving 
a discretionary power with themselves [the committee] to hand it over 
to those who they in their judgment considered most needful and de- 
serving ; (but the short of it is, to their own nearest relations and great- 
est favourites.) Of this sum we find in their own reports that Dundonnel], 
a Rosshire proprietor, got £1756 : we have Mr. Skene's (a distant rela- 
tive of Dundonnell) own words for it as '* bonus on account of the great 
outlay as an individual proprietor had made, and £1500 for road making." 
Then pleasingly writes the accomodating Secretary, Skene, to the High- 
land road requiring proprietors, "The broad offer to contribute one 
third of the expenses in meal, although I doubt not if money would be 
preferred this would be no obstacle." That roads were and. are needed 
in the Highlands none \vill deny, and that able bodied men in want, and 
could not get employment should work at these roads none should op- 
pose. But I strenuously contend that if men were required to render a 
full amount of labour, they were entitled to an equitable proportion of 
wages. It was monstrous to administer a fund unconditionally subscrib- 
ed for the relief of the destitute, upon the principle that the poor crea- 
tures were to be fully worked, and in requittal, were to be only half fed. 
Never was there a more fatal failure, than in the mal-administration of 
that magnificent fund intended for the relief and welfare of the afflicted 
Highland population. Never were the malversation of Highland proprie- 
tors and underlings, more odiously discerned and exhibited to the world 
than in this case. Not being satisfied plundering the people by every 
system and plan that the Satanic council could devise, against which the 
people contended for at least this last seventy years, struggling against 



101 

many adverse circumstances, casualties of the season, and tyrannical ex- 
actions, often in want, but not repining or complaining, until ultimately they 
became helpless, and as it were, fell into the slough of despondency, en 
77iasse ; when their long endurance came to an end, despair took hold of 
their souls, and clamour for food was the result ; appeal after appeal was 
made to the public in their behalf, which was responded to ; yet when 
a christian world came in a glorious manner to their rescue frdm death 
by famine, we find a set of rapacious Highland proprietors coming for- 
ward and placing their unhallowed hands upon the world's gift, and as 
if they in audible terms or words swore by heaven, we shall not allow 
this. Neither they did, for by examining minutely the distribution of 
the fund you will find that they pocketed two-thirds of the whole : in the 
first place, they got three-fourths of the meal bought for the people, to 
impiove their estates, and they exacted (agreeable to the Trevellyan test 
scheme) ten hours labour for every pound of adulterated meal. Now, 
taking able bodied men's wages at the lowest figure. Is. 6d. per day, you 
find the lairds gained Is, 6d. per day of every man they employed, be- 
sides reaping the benefits of the improvements. Then the road-making 
gifts, which they let to the competition of needy and greedy unfeeling 
contractors, where men were not much better paid nor dealt with than 
they were with the lairds — just a bare subsistence. Ah ! what a for- 
tunate famine this was for the Highland proprietors, especially to those 
of extensive domains, and favourites of Mr. Skene and his committee. 
I assure you they should pray for a return of it every seven yeai-s. 

Now, Madam, I am about done with you at this time, but before closing 
I would ask you, can you believe that the proprietor of Stafford House, 
which you have so elaborately pourtrayed. whose elegance and surap- 
tuousness threw all the grandeur which ever you have seen in America 
into insignificance, and which threw youi-self into a nervous rapture of 
admiration, which you could not withstand, until the proprietrix mistress 
of the robe conveyed you to a pri\ate room, and eased you by whisper- 
ing in j^our ear, " Dear me, Mrs. Stowe, be not concerned so much or so 
much embarra.ssed in your mind, at the sight of this select company and 
of the splendour of the house ; I assure you, though beautiful, we are not 
anr/eU, we are all mortal beings ; and though the house is splendid it is 
not heaven, but earthly materials," or some soothing words to that ofTect, 
that brought you back again to your senses. I say could, or can you 
believe that if there was the least 8i)eak of the grace of God in the soul 
of His Gitice the Duke of Sutherland, and his Duchess, or yet of hu- 
manity and common honesty, would they lower and degrade their position 
in society, their name and titles among the nobles, so as to become the 
most conspicuous among these villainous Highland plunderers of the 
poor, and receive double the amount of any of the rest, of the booty 1 
No, Madam, neither could I believe it myself, were it not that I knew 
the simple minded duke, in all his affairs is advised by the vilest of the 
vile, and the lowest of the low in principle. 

These are stern facts, t must allow, but they are beyond contradiction, 
and should not be concealed, but merit universal reprobation and public 



102 

censure. Public confidence has been shamefully abused, the poor have 
been cheated, degraded, and I may say demoralised ; the funds intended 
and provided for the indigent poor have been squandered upon a need- 
less useless staff of pampered officials, and Highland proprietors. You 
may praise them, and admire them and their palaces as much as 
you please, but the denunciations of the sacred volume condemn the op- 
pressors of the poor, their abettors and apologisers, to their faces, and 
you cannot silence them. Should such a calamity overtake the High- 
landers again, where will they look for commiseration or aid after this 
iniquitious abuse 1 I answer, let them trust in God, as Cromwell used 
to say, and keep their powder dry ; I say let them take what they can 
get, and where they can get it. Let them not leave a bull, cow, or bul- 
lock ; ram, sheep, or lamb ; deer, or roe ; blackcock, hen, or pheasant ; 
moor-cock, hen, or snipe, &c,, feeding and fattening upon the straths 
and glens which should be rearing corn and cattle for them and families: 
and take all the salmon and trout which is provided for them in the rivers 
and lakes upon which they can lay hands on, muscles and cockles to boot, 
("Hunger," say a Highland proverb, has "long arms," and Bacon says 
'^ rebellion of the belly is worst,") and then their spoilers and monopo- 
lizers of every provision God has provided for the Celtic race in the 
Highlands of Scotland, will soon come to their right senses. I see no 
other alternative, unless the nation will step in and demand retribution 
for past wrongs, and secure even-handed justice for the people in future. 
What did I say, retribution for past wrongs, and secure justice for the 
people in future ? hundreds will confer upon me a derisive laugh, and 
bawl out XJtopianism. But allow me to allude to an historical parallel. 
After the conquest, the Norman kings afforested a large portion of the 
soil of conquered England, in much the same way as the landlords are 
now doing in the Highlands of Scotland. To such an extent was this 
practice carried on, that an historian informs us, that in the reign of 
King John, " the greater part of the kingdom " was turned into forest, 
and that so multiform and oppressive were the forest laws, that it was 
impossible for any man who lived within the boundaries to escape falling 
a victim to them. To prepare the land for these forests, the people were 
required to be driven, in many cases, as in the Highlands, at the point 
of the bayonet ; and notwithstanding what Voltaire has said to the con- 
trary, cultivated lands were laid waste, villages were destroyed, and the 
inhabitants extirpated. Distress ensued, and discontent followed as na- 
tural consequences. But observe, the Norman kings did all this in vir- 
tue of their feudal supremacy; and in point of law and right, were 
better entitled to do it than the Highland lairds are to imitate their ex- 
ample in the present day. Was it, however, to be tolerated 1 were the 
people to groan for ever under his oppression 1 No. The English 
Barons gave a practical reply to these questions at Ruinieymede, which 
it is unnecessary to detail. King John did cry out Utopian at first, but 
was compelled to disafforest the land, and restore it to its natural and 
appropriate use ; and the records of that great day's proceedings are uni- 
versally esteemed as one of the brightest pages in English history. 



103 

With this great example Ixjfore their eyes, let the most conservative 
pause before they yield implicit faith in the doctrine that every one of 
them may do with his land as he pleases. The fundamental principle of 
land tenure are unchanged since the days of Magna Charta ; and how- 
ever much the tendency of modern ideas may have cast these principles 
into oblivion, they are still deeply graven in the constitution, and if ne- 
cessity called, would be found as strong and operative in the present 
day as they were five centuries ago. If the barons could compel the 
sovereign to open his forests, surely the sovereign may more orderly 
compel the barons to open theirs, and restore them to their natural and 
appropriate use ; and there is a power behind the throne which impels 
and governs all. These are dee}) questions that should be stirred in the 
country, in the midst of extremities and abuse of power. For it is im- 
possible for any one to travel in the Highlands of Scotland, and cast his 
eyes about him without feeling inwardly that such a crisis is approaching, 
and indeed consider it should arrive long ago. Sufierings have been in- 
flicted in the Highlands as severe as occasioned by the policy of the 
brutal Norman kings in England ; deer have extended ranges, while 
men have been hunted within a narrower and still narrower circle. The 
strong has fainted in the race for life ; the old have been left to die. 
One after another of their liberties have been cloven down. To kill a 
fish in the stream, or a wild beast in the hill is a transportable crime, even 
in the time of famine. Even to travel through the fenceless forest is a 
crime ; paths which at one time linked hamlet to hamlet for ages have 
been shut and barred. These oppressions are daily on the increase, and 
if pushed much further, (I should say if not speedily and timely pushed 
back) it is obvious that the sufierings of the people will reach a pitch, 
•when action will be the plainest duty, and the most sacred instinct. To 
prevent such forbidden calamity, permit me to address a few lines to Her 
Majesty. 

Come Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, Berwick-upon-Tweed, and 
Ireland ; thou, the most beloved of all Sovereigns upon earth, in whose 
bosom and veins the blood of the Stunrts, the legitimate Sovei'(M*gns of 
Scotland is freely circulating ; who hath endeared thyself to thy Celtic 
lieges in a peculiar manner, stretch forth thy Royal hand to preserve 
that noble race from extirpation, and becoming extinct, and to protect 
them from the violence, oppression, and spoilation to which they have 
been subjected for many years. Bear in mind, tliat this is tlui race in 
whom your forefathers couHded, entrusted and depended so much at all 
times, esj)ecially when a foreign invatler threatened and attempted to 
take possession of the Scotch throne ; and never trusted to them in vain. 
And though they unfortunately divided, upon which of the Stuart family 
was to rule over them, and much valuable blood shed on that account ; 
yet the impartial investigator into that affair will find the 7.<*al, )>atriotiKm 
and loyalty of each party meriting equal praise and anlmiration, though 
the butchers, antl literary scourges of the defeatetl party convort<'d the 
praise and loyalty due to them, into calumny and abuse. But these 
gloomy days of strife and murder are over, and the defeated consider 



104 

that they sustained no loss but that they gained much ; and I assure your 
majesty that your name is now imprinted upon every Scotch Highlander's 
heart in letters more valuable than gold, and that the remnant of them 
still left, are as willing and as ready to shed their blood for the honour 
and dignity, of your crown, and the safety of your person and family, as 
their fathers were for your grandsires. Then allow not this noble race 
to be extirpated, nor deteriorated in their soul, mind, chivalry, charac- 
ter, and persons; allow it not, your majesty, to be told in "Gath," nor 
published in the streets of Askelon, that other nations have to feed and 
keep alive your Highland Scotch warriors, while you require their ser- 
vice in the battle field; while the nursery where these brave men, who 
carried many a laurel to the British crown from foreign strands, are now 
converted to game preserves, hunting parks, and lairs for wild animals. 
Come them, like a God fearing, God loving and Christian queen ; like a 
subject-loving and beloved Sovereign, and demand the restitution of 
their inalienable rights to your Highland lieges, and the restoration of 
the Highland straths and glens to their natural and appropriate use. 
Examine like "-4/ia5we?'o?/5," the book of records of the chronicles, and 
:find what service the Highlanders rendered you and your forefathers, and 
how they are requited. "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the 
kingdom for such a time as this?" and "how can you endure to see the 
evil that came upon your people, or how can you endure to see the de- 
struction of your kindred?" people, and then like good Queen Esther, 
declare boldly and publicly that you shall not have a Hamanite, or a Ha- 
manitess about your person, in your household, or in your council. I know 
many of them will raise a Rob Roy cry, when the real owner of the cat- 
tle he has taken away, came and got possession of them, (I am plundered 
-of my just rights.) Highland proprietors hold the lands and other rights 
they plundered of the people, on the principle that Rob Roy maintainad 
his right to the cattle he stole from his distant neighbour in Badenoch. 
But the day is drawing nigh when these rank delusions in high quarters 
will be dispelled. It is a Satanic imposture, that the stewardsliip of 
Ood's soil is freely convertible into a mischievous power of oppressing 
the poor. The proper use of property is to make property useful ; 
where this is not done, it were better for land owners to have been born 
beggars, than to live in luxury while causing the wretched to want and 
weep. I know that if our Sovereign Lady was to make such a demand 
as this, that she would incur the ire and displeasure of the turf and 
sporting classes, (a consuming but not a producing body) the most des- 
tructive, vicious, cruel, disorderly, unvirtuous, revelling, and the most 
useless of all her Majesty's subjects. On the other hand her Majesty 
would gain for herself the praise and admiration of all the most wise, 
prudent, liberal, humane, virtuous and most exemplary of the nation ; 
the blessings of the people and of heaven would rest ujdou her, and re- 
main with her, and Highland proprietors, their children, and children's 
children would have cause to hold her name and memory in grateful 
recollection. Their estates would in a few years double their rents, and 
they and their heirs wpuldbe. redeemed from insolvency, and secured 



105 

from beggary. The poor law would become a dead letter. The poach- 
ing game law expenditure, along with many other unrighteous laws, 
which are hanging heavily upon the nation, would fall to disuse ; the peo- 
ple would prosper, and nothing would be lost but hunting grounds for 
the younger branches of the aristocracy and English snobs, and that 
same could easily be supplied by Her Majesty directing the attention of 
this cruel, cowardly class to the Hudson's Bay and Nor' West Terri- 
tories, where they might have plenty of useful sport, destroying animals 
much of their own disposition, though not half so injurious. In conclu- 
ding this long letter to you Madam, permit me to tell you my opinion of 
you on your landing in Britian, after taking notice of the parties who in- 
vited you, and with whom you have associated, and the i)arties you have 
shunned, as if unclean or unworthy of your society and countenance. 
I concluded at once your service for the emancipation of the American 
slaves was for ever lost, and not only lost, but be the means to screw 
their chains tighter than ever they were l>efore. Is there a class under 
heaven this day more unlikely to have any influence over the minds of 
republic Americans than English inhuman, ambitious, slave making aris- 
tocracy 1 I answer, no, no! Hence I was convinced that English gold 
was your main object. But had you come to Britain, and got up an 
Uncle Donald, Uncle Jock, and Uncle Geordy's Cabin, where you 
would not need colouring^ nor steep your brains to get up sublime false- 
liood, and impossible achievements of runaway slaves, where the naked 
unvarnished truths were more than could be believed. Then to return 
with these British cabins to the United States you would have a good 
chance to reap as rich a harvest of them in the States, as you have reaped 
of Uncle Tom in Britain, and establish your name and memory immor- 
tal and unsullied. Forming these opinions, I published the following let- 
ter in the ^^ Northern Ensign" newspaper, Wick, and addressed a copy of 
it to you: — 

Sir. — In my last, of the 18th ult., upon the late member for the 
Northern Burghs, I stated that I was not half through, but that I would 
need to forbear. The Stafford House meeting has diverted my attention 
at present from following up the subject as I intended, so as to make the 
best use I can of this aristocratic movement in behalf of the African 
slaves while it was warm i)efore the public. Many thanks to you and 
your Perth correspondent for your talented comments upon the hollo>v 
hypocrisy of this meeting and the injurious effects it will have, if their 
(so called) Christian affectionate address, headed by the Duchess of 
Sutherland, her two daughters of Argyle and Blantyre, Duchess of 
Bedford, Lady Trevellyan, Lady John Kussell, and many more, be pre- 
sented to their sistera, the ladies of Amenca. 

I believe your Perth correspondent has given us the true brief ver- 
sion or exact reply of the American ladies to this affectionate address — 
*Look at homo.' But 1 must go further und instruct the American la- 
dirs in what they should tell their English sisters to look at, at home. 
Not with a view to justify the American traffic in Iiuman Iwings — God 
forbid, but merely to tell them that they 9pii 'fnetK^ this feminine, Eng- 



^ C3 .5 



106 

lish, Christian, affectionate appeal, with the same argument that the Can- 
nibal Queen met a French philosopher when he was remonstrating with 
her upon the hateful, horryifying, and forbidden practice of eating hu- 
man flesh, and recommending her to discontinue and forbid the practice 
in her dominions. 'Well,' replied the Cannibal Queen, ' Yolaire, what 
is the difterence between your people and us] You kill men, and allow 
them to rot; we kill men, and to crown our victory we eat them, and 
we find them as good for food as any other flesh; besides, our law de- 
mands of us to eat our enemies.' Now, Sir, though two blacks will 
never make a white, yet the American ladies may justly reply and ask 
their English sisters, 'What is the difference between you and usi We 
buy black African slaves; but when we buy them, we feed, clothe and 
house them. No doubt some of us whip them at times for disobedience 
or for our own caprice ; but we heal their stripes, and take care of them, 
that they may do our work. But you, English sisters, you make 
white slaves paupers and beggars; and when you make them this, by 
depriving them of all means to live by their own industry, then you turn 
them adrift — you i-aze, plough-i/p, or bum down their habitations, and 
allow them to die (in hundreds,) the agonizing, lingering death of star- 
vation on the road-sides, ditches, and open fields. Dear sisters, look at 
the history of Ireland for the last six or seven years, and you will see 
how many thousands you have allowed to die by hunger; and consider 
how many thousands more you would have allowed to die a similar death, 
had we not come to their rescue, and sent them food until we could re- 
move them from your tender mercy and from your territories, to feed, 
clothe, and house them, and to find employment and fair remuneration 
for their labour among ourselves. Look for instance at an Irishman 
arraigned at the bar of justice for sheep-stealing, and his counsel offering 
to prove that before he stole the sheep, three of his children 2:)erished for 
want of food, and in the case of the last of them who died a sucking 
infant, the mother peeled the flesh off its legs and arms; she boiled it, 
and both she and her husband (the prisoner) ate it to save their own 
lives, and the mother died soon after. At this time you, our English sis- 
ters, were riding upon chariots, rolling smoothly over your extensive, 
uncultivated, depopulated domains, upon the wheels of splendour, and 
cushions of the finest texture, and your husbands, sons, and daughters 
sharing of your festivities, luxuries, and unnecessary grandeur ; expend- 
ing more money and human food upon useless dogs and horses than 
would have saved thousands of the poor useful Irish (with the image of 
God upon them) from a premature agonizing death. We have read 
with horror of one of your husbands urging with might and main upon 
the government (who bestirred themselves at the time for fear the famine 
might cause disease among the Irish landlords,) to feed the people with 
curry jyoivder-; and you must recollect, when the curry powder scheme of 
destroying the Irish could not be approved of, that Sir A. Trevellyan was 
sent over to Ireland with the test starving commission, and conducted the 
Irish destruction with more humanity, for he allowed one pound of meal 
as meat and wages for every starving Irishman who would work ten 



107 

hours per day at making roads, draining, and improving the estates of 
Irish landlords. Ah ! English sisters, though we could bring no more 
against you, the public will judge and decide that you should be the 
defenders, and not the pursuers, in this case ; but since you began to 
expose us, we will expose you to the letter, for there is no case or cases 
brought out against us in ' Uncle Tom's Cabin,' with all Harriet Beecher 
Stowe's capabilities of colouring, that is equal to this. We tell you 
emphatically that our law would neither sanction or tolerate such in- 
human cruelty — our religion forbids it ; and that any man or number of 
men who would be guilty of such would be branded with infamy and 
chased from our states and from our societies as inhuman, irrational, 
irreligious, and immoral monsters, unworthy of christian society, or to 
have a voice in the civil or religious government of our country. But by 
taking a retrospective view of the history of your christianized nation, we 
find that inhumanity, oppression, cruelty, and extortion, are qualifications 
required to fit a legislator, commander, commissioner, or any other func- 
tionary to whom you may safely entrust the law making, the law adminis- 
tration, and the government of your people ; but qualifications specially 
required to entitle them to dignified high sounding titles and distinction, 
as will be shown afterwards.' 

* " Uncle Tom's Cabin " has aroused the sympathy and compassion of 
the Duchesses of Sutherland, Argyle, Bedford, and Ladies Blantyre and 
Trevellyan, and many thousands of the women of England, over the fate 
of Ham's black children. But we would seriously advise the Duchess of 
Sutherland and her host to pause until Uncle Donald M'Leod's Cabin 
comes out, and until he himself comes across the Atlantic with it among 
the thou.sands of those and their offsprings who have fled from their iron 
sway and slavery to our shores. He, poor nian, has been expostulating 
with you for the last twenty years against your cruel, unnatural, irrational, 
unchristian, and inhuman treatment of the brave, athletic. Highland 
u'hitt sons of Japhet, but no English or Scottish Duchesses and I^idies 
toot any notice of him, nor convened a meeting to sympathise with him 
or to remonstrate with Highland despotic slave-making proprietors to 
discontinue their unrighteous depopulation of the country, and their un- 
godly draining away of the best blood from the nation. Hence we aver 
that these ladies would never convene a sympathising meeting for the 
benighted Africans, should their own African Chiefs, kings, and queens 
destroy them by the thousand ; but because they sell them, and we buy 
them and take care of them, Englisli feminine hearts symjiatliise with 
them. This is a fine opportunity for Donald M*Leod. Let him now speak 
out, and make haste^ and we promise him a quick and an t^xtensive sale 
for his Cabin of unvaniislied facts.' 

The Duchess of Sutherland got very warm on the subject. After she 
read the sympathising remonstrating address (which need not be quoted 
here, V)eing long ago before the public), she with great emphasis said, 
' I hope and V>elieve that our efforts, under God's blessing, will not be 
without some happy result ; V)ut whether it will succeed or fail, no one 
will deny that we shall have made an attempt, which had for its beginning 



108 

and end, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth, peace and good will to 
men." ' It seems that effrontery is become very lofty and high- voiced 
under the protection of high-sounding English titles, when the Duchess 
of Sutherland could presume to mix such notorious hypocritical whinings 
as these with, 'Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will 
to men,' for no other cause or design than to whitewash from some public 
odium already out, or to screen from some that is expected, come from 
what quarter it may. Surely this cannot be the Duchess of Sutherland 
who pays a visit every year to Dunrobin Castle, who has seen and heard 
so many supplicating appeals presented to her husband by the poor fisher- 
men of Golspie, soliciting liberty to take mussels from the Little Ferry 
Sands to bait their nets — a liberty which they were deprived of by his 
factors, though paying yearly rent for it; yet returned by his Grace; with 
the brief deliverance, that he could do nothing for them. Can I believe 
that this is the same personage who can set out from Dunrobin Castle 
(her own Highland seat), and after travelling from it, then can ride in 
one direction over thirty miles, in another direction forty-four miles, in 
another direction (by taking the necessary circuitous route) sixty miles, 
and that over fertile glens, valleys, and straths, bursting with fatness, 
which gave birth to, and where were reared for ages, thousands of the 
bravest, the most moral, virtuous, and religious men that Europe could 
boast of ; ready to a man, at a moment's warning from their chiefs, to rise 
in defence of their king, queen, and country; animated with patriotism 
and love to their chief and irresistable in the battle contest for victory. 
But these valiant men had then a country, a home, and a chief, worth the 
fighting for. But I tell her that she can now ride over these exten- 
sive tracts in the interior of the country without seeing the image o^ God 
upon a man travelling these roads, with the exception of a wandering 
Highland shepherd, wrapped up in a gray plaid to the eyes, with a colly 
dog behind him as a drill Serjeant to train his ewes and to marshall his 
tups. There may happen to travel o'er the dreary tract a geologist, a 
tourist, or a lonely carrier, but these are as rare as a pelican in the wilder- 
ness, or a camel's convoy caravan in the deserts of Arabia. Add to this a 
few English sportsmen, with their stag-hounds, pointer dogs, and their 
servants, and put themselves and their bravery together, and a company 
of French soldiers would put ten thousand of them to a disorderly flight 
to save their own carcasses, leaving their ewes and tups to feed the inva- 
ders ! The question may arise, where those people, who inhabited this 
country at one period have gone? In America and Australia the most 
of them will be found. The Sutherland family and the nation had no 
need of their services ; hence they did not regard their patriotism or 
loyalty, and disregarded their past services. Sheep, bullock, deer, and 
game, became more valuable than men. Yet a remnant of them, or in 
other words a skeleton of them is to be found along the sea-shore, huddled 
together in motley groups upon barren moors, among cliffs and precipices, 
in the most impoverished, degraded, subjugated, slavish, spiritless condi- 
tion that human beings could exist in. If this is really the lady who has 
* Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will to men,' in 



109 

view, and who is so religiously denouncing the American btatute which 
* denies the slave the sanctity of marriage, with all its joys, rights, and 
obligations — which separates, at the will of the master, the wife fiom the 
husband, the children from the parent,* — I would advise her in GchVs 
name to take a tour round the sea skirts of Sutherland, her own estate, 
beginning at Biora, then to Helmsdale, Portskerra, Strathy, Farr, Tongue, 
Durness, Eddrachillis, and Assynt, and learn the subjugated, degraded, 
impoverished, uneducated, condition of the spiritless peoi)le of that sea- 
beaten coast, about two hundred miles in length, and let her with similar 
zeal remonstrate with her husband, that their condition be bettered ; for 
the cure for all their misery and want is lying unmolested in the fertile 
valleys aV)ove, and all under his control ; and to advise his Grace, her 
husband, to be no longer guided by his Ahithophel, Mr. Loch, but to dis- 
continue his depopulating schemes, which have separated many a wife 
from her husband, never to meet — which caused many a premature death, 
and that separated many sons and daughters, never to see them ; and by 
all means to withdraw that mandate of Mr. Loch, which forbids marriage 
on the Sutherland estate, under the pains and penalties of being banished 
from the county ; for it has been already the cause of a great amount of 
prostitution, and augmented illegitimate connections and issut^s fifty per 
cent, above what such were a few years ago, before this unnatural, ungodly 
law was put in force. When the Duchess will do this, then, and not till 
then, will I believe that she is in earnest regarding the American slaves. 
Let her and the other ladies who attended the Stafford House meeting be 
not like the believers and followers of Jupiter, who were supplied with 
two bags each, the one bag representing their own faults, the other their 
neighbours' faults — the one representing their neighbours' faults sus- 
pended before them, and the one representing their own faults suspended 
behind them, so that they could never see their own faults, but their 
neighlx>urs' were seen at all times. Ah ! ladies, change your Jupiter 
bags, that you may discern your inconsistency and connection with those 
to whom you owe your position, your grandeur, your greatness, and all 
your enjoyments. 

I am encroaching too much at this time, and will forbear, but will soon 
be at them again. 



Yours, «fec., Donald M'Leod. 



16 South Richmond Street, 
Edinburgh, December 25, 1852. 



110 

To the Editor of the Northern Ensign. 

Sir, — In dealing with those who convened and attended this meeting, 
I am not so uncharitable as to include the whole of them under the same 
denomination ; for I am willing to believe that some of them are genuine 
sympathisers, with generous christian feeling towards their trodden-down, 
broken-hearted, oppressed fellow-creatures, whether black or white, or 
whatever nation they belong to, and who iiave been despoiled of the pro- 
vision which God in his infinite love and unlimited goodness made, with- 
out distinction or respect of titles or personages of the human family, and 
who became the victims of cruel avarice and boundless ambition. But 
being unacquainted with them personally, I am not in a position to separate 
the genuine from the spurious, and must leave them together until they 
separate themselves, or till some other one higher favored than I am, do it. 

No one living would rejoice more earnestly than I would, to see the 
American slaves, and all slaves liberated ; but if they are only to be 
liberated equally with Highland slaves, and subjected to similar oppression, 
degradation, and want, I pray to the good Lord to deliver them from 
such liberation. Being altogether free from personal spleen, and without 
any other motive in view but pure respect for my country, I request the 
genuine christian benevolent portion of our ladies, in the name of all that 
is sacred, if they have a genuine desire for the liberation of the American 
Slaves, and do not want their chains rivetted tighter, and their slavery 
prolonged, not to subscribe their names, nor mingle with the Stafford 
House sophistical mockery of God and men. For the Americans are a 
proud, discerning people, and when they will see the iniquity of slavery 
they will abolish it as effectually as they did under the command of im- 
mortal Washington abolish English tyranny and slavery among them- 
selves ; but they will be neither dogged, dictated to, nor bullied, to abolish 
it, especially by people who are a hundred-fold more guilty than them- 
selves ; whose hands are never but soiled in blood, and who, when they 
could not maintain or uphold slavery in their own dominions abroad, de- 
manded and obtained for their compliance to abolish it, twenty millions 
out of the public money in compensation, then turned round upon the 
industrious producing classes, (who were taxed and peeled, to refund this 
money, who had fought for them, wrought for them, and paid for all, and 
told them they had no use for them — laid their land waste, supplanted a 
portion of the people with bulls, bullocks, cows, sheep, deer, and dogs, 
others with steel men, or machinery ; banished the rest from the coast, 
with the exception of those they would require to make and attend their 
machinery, and as many as would allow themselves to be transmitted to 
animals called soldiers, to keep the rest of the people quiet, or kill them. 

But the first question our ladies should ponder well and discuss seriously 
before they would subscribe this appeal to the American ladies in behalf 
of the slaves is : How are they prepared to stand the campaign of retalia- 
tion under such leaders 1 — For I predict they will be put to the blush, and 
that their affectionate address will soon find its way unceremoniously to a 
very disrespectful purpose. The Americans are not to be dogged or 



Ill 

<;ajoled ; many of them have sad, sad recollections of the mandates which 
used to be " issued " from Stafford House, and from Dunrobin Castle, 
dictated and corai>osed by James Loch, Esq., chief commissioner, a])proved 
of by his patron, and executed by their minions: whose names I might 
mention ; gentlemen, upon the whole, with one or two exceptions, wliose 
inhumanity and injustice throws the American slave-traders, slave-breedei*s 
and slave-owners, completely into the shade. — Yes, I say mandates, not 
announcing for their beginning and end " Glory to God in the highest, 
on earth peace, and good vdW to men;" no, woes me! no, but 

Far worse than Egypt's wasting plague, 

Wrought dismal desolation ; 
Glens, straths, yea, parishes, at once 

Were swept of population. 

Mandates with every line of them announcing schemes for the destruction, 
dispersion, and utter ruin of the innocent religious, and patriotic brave 
aborigines; laying waste the land jjrovided and appointed by God for their 
maintainence, to feed brute beasts (for whose rights to themselves in com- 
mon with their chieftains, they and their forefathers so often fought and 
cemented with their blood), commanding to burn down the habitations 
they and their grand-sires occupied for time immemorial per the hundred 
year after year, leaving the people houseless and homeless — old and young 
weak and strong, sick and hale, without a sanctuary ; calumniated in their 
moral and religious character, by specially hired emissaries, without an eye 
to pity them that could render them any assistance. ^Mandates pregnant 
with confusion, despair, dismay, weeping, wailings, anguish, and bitter 
lamentations ; separation of the dearest and nearest, never to meet; break- 
ing assunder the most sacred ties of associations, to describe which must 
remain incredible to those who have not seen it, beyond description; thank 
God with few precedents of parallels in the annuals of ancient or modern 
history — yea, in the darkest or most brutal times ; — and mandates, indeed 
equal in sum and substance to the mandates issued by the Protestant pious 
King William, and his secretary Master of Stair, at the instigation of the 
Duke of Argyle and Breadalbane, and executed by the infamous Campbell 
of Glenlyon, Hamilton, Hill, Duncanson, and Lindsay, purporting the 
horrible massacre of the brave loyal McDonalds of Glencoe, which left an 
infamous stain upon King William's memoVy, his Government, and accom- 
plices, that time will not wipe away. And I emphatically tell her Gi-ace 
that the evolution of years or of ages will not efface the tragical doiKjpula- 
tion of Sutherland, and that the waters of Jordan, and all the fuller's earth 
and soap in £uroi)e, will not cleanse from the guilt; and that the time is 
bygone when the blood of bullocks, and rams, sheep and deer, would atone 
or satisfy Divine justice for guilty deeds, where there was nothing wanting 
but the wielding operation of the unsheathed sword (and the same wea|K)n 
was threatened and attempted) to make the scene upon a larger scale — a 
second Glencoe. Yet, I am perfectly satisfied, if the blood of such animaU 
would atone, that aljundance of it could be procured in Sutherland, and if 
money and the influence of priests established by law could procure a 



112 

scape-goat, that the second, third or fourth generation would have nothing- 
to fear. 

But how can I believe, who was an eye witness to these appalling scenes, 
without an ample proof, that absolution was diligently sought for from the 
only source where remission of sins can be obtained, and convei'sion mani- 
fested by visible genuine contrition, demonstrated by a restoration of the 
undoul>ted rights of the people of which they were dis))oiled — I say, how 
can I believe that the Duchess of Sutherland, her co operators, and those 
who followed the house of Sutherland, or, more properly speaking, Mr. 
Loch's extirpating exam])le, have a genuine desire to bestow liberties and 
blessings upon the American slaves, which they so sternly and Malthusian- 
like deny to their own people, who are more unfortunate, and who have a 
hundred fold stronger claims upon their sympathy? Monstrous sophistry ! 
The Stafford House meeting is nothing more or less than a revival of 
Sutherland's deceptive dodges, with which I have been well acquainted for 
the last forty -five years at least, and of which I will give you a few speci- 
mens in my next. At present, for fear of encroaching too much on your 
liberality, I will conclude by merely telling you that at this moment I am 
informed that female agents are employed in Edinburgh to procure sub- 
scribers to the Stafford House bubble in a clandestine way, not paying so 
much respect to our Edinburgh ladies as to convene a meeting, and send 
even one of their female pages to preside, should they consider it below 
their own station to preside or address our Scottish Ladies. It is evident 
they could not be favoured by the Duchess of Sutherland, as in all like- 
lihood by this time she is admitted Mistress of the Robes. 

Meantime, yours, Ac, 

Donald Macleod. 



Farewell, Mrs. H. B. Stowe, at present; expecting when your Delight 
upon Dunrobin Castle, or the Sublimity of Sutherlandshire (which you 
visited last year) comes to hand, that I will afford me an extensive scope 
for animadversion, if I will be spared to see it. 

Prince De Ligne, in his amusing memoirs, gives an entertaining 
account of an imperial visit of Catharine II. to her ultra- Russian domi- 
nions in the Crimea. The Tartarian tracts of desolation were as dispeo- 
pled as Kildonan and Strathnaver are ; but, in timely advance of the august 
cortege, workmen were employed to construct nice temporary cottages, in 
which picturesque peasants greeted their sovereign lady as she glided past; 
and when the monarch Avas fairly out of sight, the theatrical tenants were 
ejected, and the make-shift little mansions were tumbled to the ground ! 
Prince Potemkin was the author of this stupendous deception, and Prince 
De Ligne, who was in the secret, and travelling in the imperial carriage, 
could hardly refrain from chuckling as they passed through a succession 
of sham villages. I have been informed by a correspondent who is in the 
secrets of the Potemkins of Sutherland, that similar preparations were in 
contemplation, should Her Majesty consent to visit Dunrobin Castle: but 



113 

the dodge was in reality practised upon you, Madam, with success. A 
-goodly number of cottages for the poor were in the process of building in 
the neighbourhood of Golspie and not far fix>m the cfistle, when it was made 
known that you were to visit Duiirobin. All the carpentei's, nuvsons, 
slaters, paintei-s, and plumbers that could be procured, and that could get 
room to work, were employed day and night — suj^erintended during th^ 
day by her Grace. The furniture of the old castle, and a good deal of 
furniture borrowed from the sheep farmers and factors, to replenish or 
furnish these domiciles of the poor in a splendid style, which with the old 
castle mirrors, carj>ets, and hair-bottom chairs and sofas, made a very nice 
and agreeable appearance. These abodes were presented to you as a 
sample of Sutherlandshire comforts, and I admit it would be the natural 
conclusion of your mind, if the poor paupers are so well provided for, 
and so comfortable, surely the condition of the peasantry must be enviable 
above any condition of people that ever came under m}' notice. But, says 
iny correspondent, Mrs. Stowe could not be the length of Inverness on her 
way back, when every stick of this splendid replenishing was returned, 
and the poor cottages f uniished after the order of the other poorhouses : 
he adds, "however, they are pretty comfortable, if the necessaries of life 
will correspond with the building, a question to be decided after this." 
The Potemkins of Sutherland, exultingly chuckling in a suppressed tone 
— we have dodged the Yankee-ess, have we not? but, poor old lady, she 
was much easier dodged than we expected. Ah! what glorious praise we 
may now expect, when her Delight, or Sublimity of Dunrobin Castle, 
and of our noble family, and of our humane factors and servants, comes out! 
Good bye, Madam, for the present time. 

This leads me again to the operations of the new and disgraceful Poor 
Law of Scotland, which is without precedent on the Statute book of any 
Christian civilized nation on earth. Indeed, when pondering over its 
details, crooks, chicanery and deception, I am tempted to question whether 
<*pidemic blindness and hardness of heart have not seized hold of the ruling 
and influential classes of society ; and it seems as if Providence had de- 
termined to destroy the baneful system on which the population of the 
Highlands has so long grown poor and wretched, by destroying the potato 
crop; in order to arouse the nation from their culpable apathy, regarding 
the Highland portion of His vineyard, where He was more belovetl, more 
foared, and His statutes more strictly obeyed than any other portion of 
His creation, by giving this sharp warning of their danger, in tolerating a 
system pregnant with disastrous results, and cutting deep at the root of 
national ruin ; you may easily perceive, if all Scotch and English proprie- 
tors would follow the example of the Highland and Irish Nimrotis, what 
t he result would be. Their nghts of property conveys the same jwwer to 
every one of them, to do with their properties what they ple^ase, as they 
do to Highland lairds. In this age of utility we should expect to find 
the forest ground of Scotland rapidly decreasing, but the reverse is the 
case. The Highlands is an outer kingdom that moves under different 
laws of progiess from any other portion of Britian. Here the Nimrods ot 
England made a desperate rally. As they have seen their privileges Sailing 

H 



- 114 

of! one after another by the blows of public opiaion, and their parks and game 
preserves invaded and ruined by the rise of towns, factories, railways, and 
other democratic nuisances, the sons of the mighty aristocratic ancestors 
have cast their eyes to the far North, and by universal reign in that 
quarter, resolved to make up for all they have lost. Highland proprietors- 
considered that a deer forest was both a necessary and profitable appendage 
of an estate. If it wanted that it wanted dignity. Hence (according to 
Mr. Robert Somers, editor of the North British Mail, Glasgow, a gentle- 
men to whom the Highlanders are much indebted) "Deer forests were 
introduced in much the same spirit as powdered wigs and four-wheeled 
carriages at the beginning and end of the last century." Now, it is a 
notorious fact that Highland glens and mountain ranges laid out in forests, 
is more profitable to a proprietor than when let as a sheep walk, (not 
speaking of agricultural purposes at all). Not so to the tacksman or to- 
the country, but if it yields more rent to the owner, that one fact is suf- 
ficient to decide the disposal of it. The huntsman who wants a deer 
forest, limits his offers by no other calculation than the extent of his purse. 
He expects no pecuniary return ; his object is simply to spend his money 
and to have sport, and if means will allow, and man be capacitated capacious 
enough, he will out-bid every opponent. But had the Legislature taken, 
care as they should, and have made the rapidly increased rents of the proprie- 
tors reponsible for the employment and maintenance of the people, which 
the system of sheep walks, deer forests and game preserves, deprived of 
their usual means of livelihood, the Highlanders might not have had occa- 
sion to regret the change so much; or if the Legislature did not see fit to 
retain and secure their clansmen in those rights of tenure which they and 
their ancestors had possessed for time immemorial, in the same way as the 
English copyholders were secured in the reign of Charles II, it ought to- 
have vigorously enforced the Poor Law of James VI and supplemented it 
with a leaf or two from the 43rd of Queen Elizabeth, the true tenor of which, 
was to provide sufficient food, clothing and lodgings, to those among the 
lieges who are j^roveably destitute, and who cannot obtain support without 
public aid. When this law was enforced (in Scotland as I said before) in 
1845, the Poor Law Amendment Act was enacted, and the administration 
of this law entrusted or committed to two sets of men, rather say two 
Boards, viz., the Board of Supervision and Parochial Board. The Board 
of Supervision consisted of two able men, (no mistake,) Sir John MacNeil 
and Mr. Smyth were the responsible parties. The Parochial Boards were 
composed principally of proprietors, factors, and sheep farmers, established- 
by-law ministers, doctors, parish schoolmasters, rich merchants, (if favou- 
rites of the powers that be) with a very thin mixture from any other de- 
nomination, who hold monthly or quarterly meetings, as they think proper, 
to deliberate and consider who is deserving relief and who is not. (God 
help the poor for the tender mercies of the wicked are at the best cruel.) 
When a poor person puts in a claim, the officer of the Board waits upon 
him to examine his case, and his report is submitted for judgment at the 
next meeting of the Board; in most cases the relief is refused, or if granted 
is so small that it is inadequate to sustain life; in most cases from nine 



115 

pence to sixpence per week, and often below that sum, especially if there 
are more than one pauper in the same house. The only course open for 
the poor sui)plicant is to demand a schedule to make their cases known to 
the Board of Supervision, rather say Sir John MacNeil. These schedules 
are a printed form with a great amount of inteiTogatories and large blanks 
left for answers, something like this — 

What is your name I 

What is your age"? 

Where were you born 1 

Have you any children 1 

About forty questions are asked which must be all answered in writing. 
The other side of this large sheet is left blank for the Inspector of the 
Poor to make his answers to the complaint. Yes, (but behold where the 
secret of iniquity and injustice are concealed which brand the concocters^ 
supporters and enactors of this new Poor Law of Scotland with infamy, 
and should consign the Law itself to everlasting destruction) when the 
poor pauper gets his or her side of the schedule made up with answers, 
then it is handed over to the Inspector, who, in general, is the Factor, 
Parish Schoolmaster or the Doctor of the District, (who of course must 
be a creature of the Proprietoi-s and Factors) to make up his side of the 
schedule, he is at liberty to state the truth or the greatest falsehood ima- 
ginable, (one thing evident he must please the Factor or he will not occupy 
his situation long) he seajs up the schedule in a Parochial Poor Board 
envelope, under the Board's stamp, and hands it to the supplicant to pay 
it and ])Ost it to the Board of Supervision. This is all the liberty and 
recourse for obtaining justice the British-enacted Poor Law of Scotland 
left for their paupers, should the supplicant be as poor, moral, upright and 
honest as Job. The Inspector may represent him or her immoral, intem- 
perate, lazy or thievish, having jilenty to eat and drink; for the law enacts 
that no other evidence can be taken or produced to prove the supplicant's 
claim ; and should the Board of Supervision think proper to reverse the 
decision of the Parochial Board, what can they do ] they can only (by 
enacted law) recommend the claimant to get relief; they dare not state 
what amount he is entitled to get; all they can do if the Parochial Board 
continues obstinate and allow nothing, they can give the claimant a cer- 
tificate to employ a Solicitor to bring his case before the Supreme Court 
at Edinburgh, but this is seldom done. I was six years in Edinl)urgh 
during the operation of this law, and only one |)Oor case was permitted to 
pass the Bar of the Board of Supervision all that time. That case was 
successful in tlie Coui*t of Session, but carried to the House of Lords, and 
how it was decided there I have not heard. The fact is that these Boards, 
the Law, and Highland Proprietors are going hand in hand to demoi-alize, 
pauperize and extirpate the race. You have a ])ointed illustration of 
this in the following brief account of their co-operation for the consumma- 
tion of their designs. In the year 1850, Ministere of the Free Church 
and other dissenting Ixxlies in the Isle of Skye and other districts in the 
Highlands, forwarded many grievous complaints in behalf of the poor to the 
Board of Supervision, showing the culpable carelessness and malversation 



116 

and partiality of the Parochial Board, detailing many extreme cases of 
poverty and actual death by famine. The public press took up the case, 
and so urgent were the public requests, that Government ordered Sir John 
MacNeil and Mr. Smyth to repair to the scene of poverty and fields of 
famine and death, to make enquiry into the truth of these alarming reports. 
In a few days they landed among the valleys of famine, death and com- 
plaints. These Commissioners of justice and humanity summoned the 
Parochial Board and the reverend reporters of distress, before them, and 
enquired where extreme cases of poverty were to be found; being told, 
they then enjoined upon the parties to accompany them early next morn- 
ing, at daylight, to examine these cases. So at daylight they started, and 
they were in the first instance directed to a poor widow's abode. Is this 
one of the worst cases you have to show? enquired Sir John; being an- 
swered in the affirmative, then says he, Mr. Smyth we must see what is 
within ; in they go, the widow with her three fatherless children were in 
bed. Holoj cries Sir John, have you any food in the house 1 Very little 
indeed sir, was the reply. Sir John, by this time was searching and 
opening boxes, where nothing but rags and emptiness was to be found; at 
last he uncovered a pot where there was about three pounds of cold pot- 
tage ; Smyth discovered a small bowl or basin of milk. Sir John bawls 
out with an authoritative tone, holding out the cold pottage in one hand and 
the basin of milk in the other, "Do you presume, gentlemen, to call this 
an extreme case of poverty, where so much meat was left after being 
satisfied at supper'?" Some of the party ventured to mutter out, "that is 
all the poor woman has." "Hush" says Sir John, '*she was cunning 
enough to hide the rest." Sir John's dog made a bolt at the pottage and 
devoured the most of it ; the party left ; did not go far when the dog got 
sick. "That d — n cold pottage has poisoned my valuable dog," says 
Sir John ; the servant was ordered back to the inn to physic the dog. 
The whole investigation of the day was conducted in a similar manner ; 
only the dog was taken care of, and not allowed among the pots of the 
perishing people. Next day Sir John summoned the Parochial Board to 
appear before him, to get instructions for their future proceedings. The 
Board attended, and Sir John addressed them nearly as follows : — 

Gentlemen of the Board — The Government who sent me out, will 
not compel you to give out more relief than you are giving, until extreme 
cases of famine are made out. Extreme cases means death by famine; 
such cases makes you culpable and responsible to the law of the land. 
Gentlemen, (understand me) who are almost to a man, Ministers of the 
Gospel, Missionaries, Priests, Sheepfarmers, Factors, Game Keepers, 
Foresters, Doctors, and Proprietors, to whom the Government look for 
truth ; whose prerogative, by a special Act of Parliament, is to report the 
cause of death in the Isle of Skye during these clamorous times (understand 
me), be very careful about making out your reports ; how can you ])rove 
the death of any one to be caused by want of food without having first a 
post mortem examination of the body by more than one medical man. 
There are many other distempers and diseases that may linger about 
people, that may cut away life very quick when a person is in a weak state 



117 

for want of nourishment, which cannot be attributed to famine. So, be 
aware of what you are about, for I assure you if you continue to report 
extreme cases and death by famine, you shall (gentlemen) find yourselves 
in a sad dilemma when you have to defend yourselves at the bar of a Jus- 
ticiary Court for culpable homicide. 

These instructions and definition of the Scotch new Poor Law Bill 
enactment were forwarded to every Parochial Board in Scotland, and had 
the desired effect. We never heard, nor never will hear of an extreme 
case of death by famine in the Highlands of Scotland. It could not be 
expected that such valuable men as constitutes the Parochial Boards in 
Scotland, would criminate themselves for the sake of making up a faithful 
report of the cause of deaths among the unfortunate despised Higlilanders. 
Yet vengeance for all these evils doings, says God, is mine ; I am forbear- 
ing but not an all-forbearing God. 

" Heuce then, and evil go with thee, along 

Thy oflFapring the place of evil— hell 

Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broils 

Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom, 

Or some more sudden vengeance wing'd from God 

Precipitate thee with augmented pains. — Paradise Lost, 

May we not exclaim in the language of immortal Burns, " Man's 
inhumanity to man . . ." — and borrow a short paragraph from Shy lock, 
but to change the names, which is quite applicable to the Highland Board, 
proprietors and their accomplices: '*Are we not Highlander: have High- 
landers no eyes; have Highlanders no hands, organs, dimensions, senses, 
affections, passions, and appetites, that should be fed with the same food 
with you ; are Highlanders not hiii-t with the same weapon, and healed by 
the same means as you are, warmed and cooled by the same summer and 
winter as you are? If you prick us, do we not bleed and feel it? If you 
tickle us, do we not laugh 1 If you poison and starve us, do we not die ] 
If you persecute us and wrong us, shall we not l>e revenged 1 If we are like 
you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. The villany you have 
taught us we will execute, and it will go hard with us, or we will better 
the instructions vhen our turn of revenge will come." To detail the 
preconcerted destructive schemes manifested in every chapter of this bill, 
(which, indtred, we may say, was conceived in sin and brought forth in 
inicpiity ;) the malversation of its administration, the fatal effects t)f its 
oi>eration8, would require more room than I can spare : you will have to 
be content with the foregoing specimen ; and I think it should convince 
you of the length that the machinations of evil doers in hiyh places may 
go, to rob and punish their fellow creatures, and to make the creduloua 
world believe that all they do is for the good of their victinis. Look at * 
Board of Supervision sitting in secret at Edinburgh, a distance 
of about 400 miles from some of the most impoveristd districts in 
Scotland, hearing the complaints of the poor only upon .schedules, refusing 
them a right of reply to the allegations of hostile inspectoin, and giving no 
reasons for its decisions, though involving questions of life or death to 
the poor. The sheriffs of counties were even debarred from giving them 



118 

justice when deprived of adequate relief. All these precautions were 
taken lest the poor might have power to impose upon the parochial boards. 
A grosser misapprehension of the relative position and strength of the two 
parties could not possibly be acted upon. A Highland pauper is one of 
the most helpless of mortals: a Highland Poor Board, so far as its juris- 
diction extends, is all-powerful, embracing in its ranks th» whole wealth 
and influence of a parish. If the legislature had had any sincere intention 
of giving the poor a chance of justice against the prejudices of the boards, 
it would have thought of strengthening instead of weakening their posi- 
tion, but the blunder or the crime, whichever it may be, of 1845, ought 
now to be atoned for. Let the sheriffs be empowered to review the 
decisions of the parochial board in res[)ect to the amount of relief; let the 
old right of appeal, free of let or hindrance, to the Court of Session be 
restored ; let the Board of Supervision itself be made amenable in all its 
acts to that supreme tribunal to which all classes and bodies of Scotchmen 
are accustomed to bow in respectful deference ; and, in short, let every 
possible facility be given to the poor of stating their complaints in the 
courts of justice of having their claims impartiallyJjivestigated, and of 
obtaining decisions in accordance with the law, and not with the narrow and 
illiberal views of bodies which have a palpable interest in depriving the 
poor of an adequate maintenance. As for the objection that the expense 
of maintaining the poor would soon consume the entire rental of the 
Highlands, it has no foundation in fact. The total amount expended on 
the poor in the four counties of Sutherland, Ross, Inverness, and Argyle, 
though embracing six months of the severe and universal distress occa- 
sioned by the failure of the potato crop, was only £37, Gl 8 lis. 7fd., 
being scarcely 6^ per cent, of the valued rent. This sum may be 
considerably increased, without exceeding the rate of assessment in many 
parts of the country in ordinary years. But even supposing that the 
expenditure on the poor should rise to a height extremely inconvenient to 
the proprietors, I do not perceive that this would be disastrous. The 
proprietors have the means of correcting this evil in their own hands. 
There is no country on earth where the duty of children to support their 
aged and disabled parents, and the ties of kindred generally, are more 
profoundly respected than in the Highlands. As long as a Highlandman 
has a bite and a sup he shares it with an aged father or mother. It is 
only \vhen reduced to poverty himself that he allows any of his near kind- 
red to claim the benefit of the poor's roll. The policy of the Highland 
lairds for many years has been to deprive the able-bodied of their holdings 
of land, to reduce them to the verge of destitution, and compel them, if 
possible to emigrate. The direct tendency of these measures has been 
to increase the number of the aged and infirm dependent upon jmrochial 
relief. The proprietors have only to reverse their ])olicy, to keep the 
able-bodied at home, to lay open the soil to their industry, and to pro- 
mote their industry, their comfort and independance, in order to reduce 
the burden of the aged and disabled poor. This is the safety-valve of 
a liberal and effectual Poor Law. While it would protect the poor from 
starvation and suffering, it would constrain the owners of property, by the 



119 

bonds of self-interest, to consult the happiness of the people, to strive for 
their employment, and to introduce that new division and management of 
the soil which lie at the foundation of permanent improvement. The 
same considerations which induced the proprietors would dispose the sheep- 
farmers to submit to the new order of things. Farewell to the Poor Law 
at present. 

Bad and inadequate as the relief for the poor was, there were still more 
inconsistent and imbecile schemes tried, and propositions were made to 
relieve them : such as the Patriotic Society schemes, headed by the Duke 
of Sutherland, and the most notorious portion of his codepopulators in the 
Highlands, which brougut me out in the following letter to the Northern 
Ensign, when the emigmtion of the Highlanders to the waste bogs of 
Ireland and Wales, and the Russian war opened a field for me. I am 
sorry that I cannot refrain from repetitions, as I had to contend with so 
many deceivers of my countrymen and of the public, almost single-handed, 
and had often to use the same arguments with them, so you must excuse 
me for re|>etitions. This Patriotic Society employed a sneaking scoundrel 
to bring their scheme of relief of the Highlanders before the public, which, 
as may be seen at a glance, was a scheme to plunder the credulous public. 
After his first tour in the Highlands, on his return he had the efi'rontery 
to advertise a public meeting in the Waterloo Rooms, Edinburgh, to give 
an account of success in the Highlands. I had an opportunity to confront 
him, face to face, at this meeting, and I assure you it was not much in hia 
favour I did meet him: he had good cause to understand that his knavery 
M'as dismantled before we parted. 

7b the Kilitor of the Northern Ensign. 

Sir, — How proud I would be, and what pleasure it would afford me, if 
I could but give vent to my feelings of gratitude towards you, for your 
manly, timely and practical interposition in behalf of my ill-used, mis- 
represented and long-neglected countrymen, at a time when all other 
philanthropists who have exerted themselves in their behalf as yet seem to 
content themselves with merely suggesting plans and remedies, which will 
take years before they can bring relief ; and, alas, after thousands of the 
Highlanders will after the most agonizing sufferings, drop into a premature 
grave. I^ok, for instance, at Mr. Bond, Secretary for the Royal Patriotic 
Association, (under the patronage of the Duke of Sutherland, his commis- 
sioner, Mr. Loch, and others,) travelling in the Highlands, with about half 
a cwt. of cottage models on his back, going from one duke's palace to 
another, from one marquis to another, from one factor to another, from one 
grade of proprietors and other underlings to another, including ministers, 
schoolmasters, sheriffs, and fiscals, collecting information al>out Highland 
destitution, and the cause of it, and consulting them upon the best scheme 
to remedy the evil. Yes, consulting men whose predecessors and them- 
selves have been steeping and racking their brains for the last half century, 
contriving how to destroy and extirpate the Highland peasantry from the 
land of their fathers, and reduce them to their present deplorable condition 



120 

— men, I emphatically say, that instead of being consulted, should be 
arraigned at the bar of public justice, dealt with as traitors, and their 
property confiscated, for they of verity destroyed and trod under foot the 
best portion of the national Ijuhvork. But this assuming Mr. Bond comes 
before the public so ostentatiously, just as if men could believe his infor- 
mation, or be assured that the plans he and the oppressors of the people 
had devised could save their victims from perishing or bettering their 
condition in future. 

During Mr. Bond's perambulations in the Highlands, he had to travel 
over extensive tracts of fine lands and fertile glens, bursting with fatness 
and teeming with everything that is necessary to make the people com- 
fortable and independent of charity, but locked up from them, and lying 
a solitary waste, or under brute beasts, where no sweeter strains are heard 
than the screeches of the night owl, or the barking of the collie dogs, and 
the image of God upon man dare not approach the spot. This Mr. Bond did 
see, though often gliding smoothly over these tracts, shut up snugly {with 
his models) in the laird's coach, or in the Commissioner's dog cart. But 
then comes Mr. Bond upon the portion of the Highlands allotted to the 
people, viz., the creeks, precipices, bogs, barren moors and bye-corners, 
places found both dangerous and unprofitable to rear sheep and bullocks, 
in most cases dangerous for deer and goats to approach, and never designed 
by the God of Nature for cultivation or the abode of human beings. 
Here he found them in clusters and motley groups, where they were 
huddled together after being expelled from their fertile valleys, and with- 
out leases or encouragement to improve, should it be possible to do so. If 
I am not mistaken, (jor I doiiH hear well^) Mr Bond admitted at a public 
meeting in Edinburgh, that he had seen some of the people tearing or 
cultivating moss which was as tough as India rubber, and as unsusceptible 
of rearing human food as gutta percha ; that the seed they sowed in the 
evening was wholly eaten up by birds before morning, as nothing could be 
torn out of the spongy moss to cover the seed, though )ie himself ivere to 
try on the harrow. Mr. Bond found the people without food, money or 
clothing; they were dirty, starving looking creatures ; they were living in 
turf hovels, (houses he could not call them ) The lords of the soil com- 
plained that the wretches would neither 7?a^ rent nor go away; that all 
their means were nearly eaten up with poor rates ; and that they were 
alarmed out of measure, as the case and cries of the poor wretches had 
already reached the ears of Government, and that an able-bodied poor law 
was likely to be the result. Besides, Dr. Begg, of Edinburgh, had 
bestirred the Free Church ministers and other influential bodies in behalf 
of these miserable-looking wretches, and the public are becoming very 
indignant at being called upon year after year for subscriptions to keep 
them alive, even though it is the desire of the Highland landlords that 
they were all dead or banished. Oh ! exclaimed Mr. Bond, I see what 
will remedy the whole evil. These dirty, unshapely, and uncomfortable 
turf hovels must be changed to cleanly stone-l)uilt cott-nges, of which this 
is a model, and if our Association can procure money from the Govern- 
ment, or from the public, and that you, gentlemen, will grant sites, we 



121 

will undertake the building. This suggestion met at once the approbation 
of Highland Dukes, Lords and Commons, cunning enough to know as well 
as I do, (however Utopian the suggestion was) that if the public, through 
the high-sounding names connected with this society, could be gulled to 
join it and subscribe to its funds, and Government to grant a large sum of 
the public money, and the Royal Patriotic Society to build houses with it, 
I say they knew it was a scheme which would at least take a hundred 
years in its operation, and then vanish like a burst bottle of smoke. But 
the houses would be found useful to the proprietors, for the dwellings of 
shepherds and dogs, or, as some churches in the Highlands just now, for 
sheltering sheep during stormy nights, or for wool stores, and manses for 
the abodes of gamekeepers, fox-hunters and foresters. Let the public and 
Government be guarded against such futile sophistry and preconcerted 
machinations, and let me tell them that it is not neat cottages that the 
Highlanders now need to redeem them from their miserably pauperised 
condition, or to better their condition in future, and elevate their position 
in society. It is the land the Highlanders would require, yes, the land 
now under beasts; and unless they get that, it is in vain to suggest or 
devise remedies; they will ultimately perish unless they become State 
paupers. But if they get the land which God designed for cultivation, 
they will soon cease to be objects of commisseration, and they will j)ay 
rents and become independant of charity. Then let them build such 
houses as will suit themselves, whether of mud, turf or stones. Many a 
brave Highlander was reared in a turf house, whose intrepidity and valor 
gained many victories and immortal fame and praise to the nation which 
has callously, cruelly, and carelessly allowed a few despotic minions to 
reduce the progeny of the heroes of Bannockburn, Sheritfmuir, Kill ie- 
crankie, Prestonpans, Fontenoy, Egypt, Corunna, Salamanca, Vittoria, 
and Waterloo, to their present deplorably destitute condition, a by-word 
and an eye-sore to the nation, which often had cause to be proud of them 
in many a battlefield, and would be proud of them still more if they had 
but half fair play. 

Contrast the present race of Highlands with those of forty-five, who, 
when only a few clans of them joined together, s/wok this empire to its 
very centre, and were within a very little of placing the crown of England 
upon the /lead of one who (with all his faults,) would not see nor hear of a 
Highlander dying for want of food while there would be a bullock, deer, 
ram, sheep, or lamb living in the land, not speaking of allowing thousands 
of acres of fertile land in his dominions to lie waste to feed such animals — 
and after you compare them, (without any reference to the cause in which 
our predecessors were engaged,) ask what is the cause, and who were, and 
are to be blamed for such fearful deterioration of everything that was 
recommendable or characteristic of our forefathers? Mr. Bond ami his 
patrons will reply, the Highlanders are exceedingly lazy — yes, lazy, they 
will not make bricks without btraw. I am encroaching too much on your 
liberality ; perliaps I will recur to the subject again. Hoping the Govern- 
ment and the nation will respond to the voice of heaven, that the High- 



122 

landers will be saved from dying for want of food, and this nation from a 
stain on their profession of Christianity that ages will not wipe off. 

I am, ttc, 

DONALD M'LEOD. 
16, 8. Kiehmond St., 
Edinburgh, February 4, 1851. 



The emigration of the Higlilanders to the wastes of Ireland, and to send 
them Gielic Bibles and Psalm Books to supply the spiritual famine then 
discovered among the dying people, brought me out in the following : — 

2h the Editor of the Northern Ensign. 

Sir, — Though I confess my inability to ascertain the exact amount of 
money expended to meet the s])iritual and temporal destitution of the 
Highland population, by preaching and teaching the Protestant Christian 
religion, and promoting British civilization in the Highlands and Islands 
of Scotland, yet I am confident that any one who could ascertain the 
amount, would be ready to conclude that the Highlanders should be the 
most religious, the most enlightened, the most civilized, and the most 
comfortable people under the canopy of heaven. In my opinion, the 
amount cannot be less, or not more, than three millions sterling. To pre- 
vent such conclusions, I am resolved in my old simple style to prove to 
you and your readers, that it had been well for the Highlanders if they 
had never seen a farthing of the immense sum, and that the progress of 
civilization and religion were left to Heaven and their own exertions. 
This will be easier credited, when we candidly and impartially compare 
the present state of religion, comfort and civilization in the Highlands, 
with that which existed about fifty years ago, or before one farthing of 
these enormous sums was expended to improve either. Besides, I am at 
no loss to prove to your satisfaction, that the principal contributors to 
those societies who squandered the money, were the chief plunderers of the 
people; hence, that it was neither for the glory of God nor the elevation 
of the Highlanders that the money was contributed and expended. Be- 
stowing charity in all ages has had the most efiectual tendency to make 
beggars. Only think of men in power depriving their subjects of their 
corn fields and of every means of their subsistence, then to cloak their un- 
righteous doings would subscribe liberally that the poor would receive 
Gtelic Bibles and Psalm Books in lieu of their plunder. 

I am now advanced in years, and have a pretty correct recollection of 
passing events and of the movements of society for the last fifty years. 
At that period, and down to the period at which the calamities accompa- 
nying the clearing system overtook us, and before we came under the 
Loch iron rod of oppression, and drank of that hitter cup of many wither- 
ing ingredients which accompanied that ever cursed and condemned by 
6^ofZ, system, I say that we lived what might be tej-med a happy life, when 



123 

compared with the present. Some years our corn crops would fail, but 
we had cattle which we could sell, and purchase food with the price of 
them ; we liad sheep and goats which we could take and eat ; we had 
salmon and trout for the taking ; we had abundance of milk, butter and 
cheese ; and none of us ev^er died by famine. To the stranger every door 
was oj)en ; to the lame, needy, and poor every hand was stretched with 
relief ; to the sick and afflicted every breast was full of sympathy. Sab- 
bath desecration, profane swearing, drunkenness, disobedience to parents, 
immorality of every description, in short, every violation of the laws of 
God and rules of society, was considered as a heinous crime, and not 
allowed to pass with impunity. I may add, without fear of refutation, 
that there was not exceeding four families in the county of Sutherland 
but who worshipped God morning and evening in their respective families. 
Weekly, monthly, and yearly prayer meetings were held in every district. 
The pulpits of our respective parish churches were occupied by ministei*s 
worthy of their vocation, who were making themselves well acquainted 
with their flocks by visiting them often, besides having Mm known for 
their piety and exemplary virtues, (chosen by the people), appointed to 
examine, instruct, admonish, and reprove, when required. There was no 
need for fiscal, constables, thief-catchers, or policemen to keep us quiet 
and protect property; till of late yeai-s these hateful names were not known 
in the Gielic language. Now, this is a brief sketch of the state of religion 
and civilization in the beginning of this century. Query, what is it now 1 
Yet, though the.se are stubborn facts which challenge refutation, I am 
aware, while I confine my observations to Highland character and High- 
landers among these secluded glens, romantic mountains, and cascades, 
for many yeai-s their religion and moral virtues have become an easy prey 
to every vile calumniator, theologian and historian, down from M'Culloch 
and Loch of Sutherland, to the ^ScotsDian and your own contemporary at 
the Bridgend ; so that I am unprotected from the literary scourges of 
Highland happiness, civilization, and religion. Hence 1 must extend ray 
remarks to a peiiod when the Sutherland Highlanders were embodied, and 
came before the world in such a })Osition that their character could neither 
be concealed nor villified with impunity, and we will hear what competent 
impartial Judges said of them, among other Highland regiments. General 
Stewart of Garth, in his 'Sketches of the Highlands,' says : In the words 
of a general officer by whom the 93d Sutherlanders were once reviewed, 
*• They exhibit a perfect pattern of military discipline and moral rectitude. 
In the case of such men disgraceful ])\inishment would be as unnecessary 
as it would Ik; pernicious." ' Indeed,' says the general ' so remote was the 
idea of such a measure in regard to them, that when punishments were to 
be inflicted on others, and the troop in garrison assembled to witness their 
execution, the presence of the Sutherland Highlanders wa.s dispensed with, 
the effects of terror as a check to crime being in their case uncalled for, 
as examples of that nature were not necesssary for such honourable soldiers. 
When the Sutherland Highlanders were Htationed at the Cape of Good 
Hope, anxious to enjoy the advantage of religious instruction agreeably to 
fhe tenets of their national church, and there being no religious service in 



124 

the garrison except the customary one of reading prayers to the soldiers on 
parade, the Sutherland men/ says the general, ' formed themselves into a 
congregation, appointed elders of their own number, engaged and paid a 
stipend (collected among themselves) to a clergyman of the Church of 
Scotland, and had divine service performed agreeable to the ritual of the 
Established Cliurch every Sabbath, and prayer meetings through the 
week.' This reverend gentleman, Mr. Thorn, in a letter which appeared 
in the Christian Herald of October 1814, writes thus: 'When the 93rd 
Highlanders left Cape Town last month, there were among them 156 
members of the church, including three elders and three deacons, all of 
whom, so far as men can know the heart from the life, were pious men. 
The regiment was certainly a pattern of morality, and good behaviour to 
all other corps. They read their Bibles and observed the Sabbath. They 
saved their money to do good. 7,000 rix dollars, a sum equal to £1,200 
sterling, the non-commissioned ofhcers and privates saved for books, socie- 
ties, and for the spread of the Gospel, a sum unparallelled in any other 
corps in the world, given in the short space of eighteen months. Their 
example had a general good effect on both the colonists and the heathen. 
If ever apostolic days were revived in modern times on earth, I certainly 
believe some of those to have been granted to us in Africa.' Another 
letter of a similar kind, addressed to the Committee of the Edinburgh 
Gaelic School Society (fourth annual report), says : 'The 93d Highlanders 
arrived in England, when they immediately received orders to proceed to 
North America; but, before they re-embarked, the sum collected for your 
society was made up and remitted to your treasurer, amounting to seventy- 
eight pounds sterling.' ' In addition to this,' says the noble minded 
immortal General, ' such of them as had parents and friends in Sutherland 
did not forget their destitute condition, occasioned by the operation of the 
{fire and faggot) " wz2>-improved state of the country." During the short 
period the regiment was quartered at Plymouth, upwards of ;£oOO was 
lodged in one banking-house, to be remitted to Sutherland, exclusive of 
many sums sent through the Post-office and by officers ; some of the sums 
exceeding ;^20 from an individual soldier. Men like these do credit to 
the peasantry of a country. ' It must appear strange, and somewhat incon- 
sistent.' continues the general, 'when, the same men who are so loud in 
their profession of an eager desire to promote and preserve the religious 
and moral viitues of the people, should so frequently tak(5 the lead in re- 
moving them from where they inbibed principles which have attracted 
the notice of Europe, and of measures which lead to a deterioration, placing 
families on patches of potato ground as in Ireland, a syst(jm pregnant with 
degradation, poverty, and disaffection.' It is only when parents and 
heads of families in the Highlands are moral, happy, and contented, that 
they can instil sound principles into their children, who in their inter- 
course with the world may become what the men of Sutherland have 
already been, "an honourable example worthy the imitation of all." 

I cannot help being grieved at my unavoidable abbreviation of these 
heart stirring and heart-warming extracts, which should ornament every 
mantle-piece and library in the Highlands of Scotland; but I could refer 



125 

to other authors of similar weight; among the last, (though not the least), 
Mr. Hugh Miller of the Witness, in his * Sutherland as it was, and is: or. 
How a country can be ruined ;' a work which should silence and put to 
shame every vile, malignant, calumniator of Highland religion and moral 
virtue in bygone years, who in their sophistical profession of a desire to 
promote the tempoi'al and spiritual welfare of the people, had their own 
sordid cupidity and aggrandisement in view in all their unworthy lucubra- 
tions, (as I will endeavour to show at a future period.) Come then, ye 
perfidious declaimers and denouncers ; you literary scourges of Highland 
happiness, under whatever garb, whether political economist or theology 
moiifjers, answer for yourselves — What good have you achieved, after 
expending such enormous sums of money ? Is it possible that the world 
will believe you, or put confidence in you any longer] Before I am done 
with you, come, you professing preachers of the everlasting gospel of peace 
and of good will to men, stand alongside and on the same platform with 
the Highland Destitution Relief Board, exhibited before God and the 
world, and accused of misapplying and squandering away an enormous 
amount of money, and of having in your league, and combination with 
}>olitical economists — treacherous professing civilizers and improvers of the 
Highlands and Highland population, — produced the most truly deplorable 
results that ever were recorded in the history of any nation, the utter 
ruin and destruction of as brave, moral, religious, loyal, and patriotic 
a race of men as ever existed. Spiritual and temporal destitution in the 
Highlands has been a profitable field for you these many years back. 
Many a scheme have you tried (hitherto successful) to extract money from 
the pockets of the credulous benevolent public, who unfortunately believed 
your fabulous accusation and misrepresentation of the Highlanders, and 
who confided in your honesty ; and although you, yourselves, may see ; the 
public, yea, and he that runneth may see, that the Lord (not without a 
cause) has discountenanced you, still you continue your appeals to the 
public, that your traffic may continue likewise ; appeals from respectable 
quarters have lately been made for Gaelic teachers, Gaelic bibles, and 
psalm lx)oks, and tracts, for the iX)or Highlanders, who are dying for want 
of food ; dejKjnd upon it that there is a squad of students out of employ- 
ment, and a great deal of these books unsold somewhere, that must be 
turned to money. We have now an association forming in Edinburgh, 
got up by men fi*ora whom better things should be expected, who have 
for their object to expoi-t these dying, penniless Highlanders to Ireland, 
to mix location with the poor Insh — who have gone through many a fiery 
ordeal for the last sixty yeai-s — that the wastes of Ireland may be reclaimed 
from nature, and cultivated by Highlanders ; just as if there was no waste 
land in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to reclaim and cultivate; or, 
as if th(Te was something devilish or unnatural in the Highland soil, and 
detrimental to the progress of its inhabitants. Perha])s they have in view 
to liave the Highlanders trained in the school and discipline of that great 
and useful lady (to the fiscal department) Molly M'Guire, to partake of 
her uncouth freaks. Very likely the next sjHjculative exi)eriment will be 
the exportation of Highlanders to Wales, to learn the humoiirsome freaks 



120 

of Rebelali, since all the ingenuity of evildoers, evil teachers, the effects- 
of famine, oppression, and false accusation, have been baffled to make them 
murder^ roh^ steals or destroy property, while on the (stubborn and unpro- 
ductive of crime) Highland soil. 

You, benevolent public, ;;aws<?, for a little while, till I have time to ex- 
plain myself better, and draw the curtain of the stage of devices, chicanery^ 
and deception, and be no longer the abettors and accomplices of Highland 
depopulators — the legitimate parents of Highland calamities. 

Britain will some day bewail the loss of her Highland sons. Highland 
bravery, loyalty, patriotism and Highland virtue. May God hasten the 
day, that I may live to see it. 

Meantime, yours, tfec, 

DONALD M'LEOD., 

[Note,— Molly McGuire was Chief Judge of what was termed the Lynch Law of 
Ireland. When a evietor or a man used intrigues to supplant any of Molly's .'• d- 
ciety, he was at once summoned to her bar, to be judged by Molly, yet the ir^n 
did not know where to attend, being a secret court ; yet the case would go on and 
Molly would employ a counsel to defend the accused, where I am told every facility 
was afforded him and rewarded provided he could exonerate the accused; otherwise 
there was nothing for him. If the accused was found innocent he got notice to 
that effect, that he had nothing to fear ; but if found guilty he was next day 
warned to leave the country or prepare for eternity, that upon a certain day and 
hour he was to be dispatched by order of Molly M'Guire, which orders were in 
general punctually executed. Again, when farmers raised the price of butcher's 
meat so high that her disciples could not buy it, Molly (in order to keep the meat 
market down at a reasonable price) would order so many of her subjects to proceed 
to the town or district where such high prices were wrung from the poor people 
to (what they termed) houghing all the fat cattle and sheep in the district, so as to 
compel them to sell cheap. Yet we have writers of no small reputation maintain- 
ing that " however diabolical Molly M'Guire's laws, rules, and operations were, 
still there was more humanity and justice discerned than in the new Poor Law of 
Scotland. " Rebekah was the leader of the Toll breakers in Wales, South of P]ngland, 
some few years ago, but solely on account of being English, Rebekah and her 
children claimed redress for their grievances, and the offensive Tolls were removed.]; 



To the Editor of the Northern Ensign. 

Sir, — If in my last I have suceeded in making out a claim upon the 
sympathy and interposition of the nation, in behalf of my unfortunat. 
countrymen, where is the Christian heart so void of sympathy as not to 
throh heavily, or the eye so void of pity as not to shed a bitter tear over 
the lamentable fate of this peaceable, inoffensive, and once brave people? 
Or where is the Christian heart that is pot full of indignation, or the eye 
that will not look with abhorrence, upon the criminal men who are the 
legitimate parents and sole cause of all the sufferings and jiremature agon- 
izing death to which the Highland population are doomed % Napoleon 
Bonaparte, at one period of his horrible career in Turkey, ordered four 
hundred Musselmen whom he had taken prisoners, to be shot, because he 



127 

could not provide thein with food, and to let them go free he would not^ 
and he saw that they would die by famine — hence mercy dictated that they 
would be formed into a solid square, and 2,000 French muskets loaded 
with ball cartridges levelled at them, which was done, and this disarmed 
mournful s<]uare mass of human beings were quickly put out of pain. All 
the Christian nations of Europe were horrified, and every breast was full 
of indignation at the perpetrator of this horrible tragedy, and France wept 
bitterly for tlie manner in which the tender mercies of their wicked Em- 
peror were exhibited. Ah ! but guilty Christian, your Protestant law-mak- 
in«^ Britain, tremble when you look towards the great day of retribution. 
Urier the protection of your law. Colonel Gordon has consigned 1.500 
m ., women, and innocent children, to a death a hundred fold more agon- 
ising and horrifying. With the sanction of your law he (Colonel Gordon} 
and his predecessors, in imitation of His Grace the Duke of Sutherland 
and his predecessors, removed the people from the land created by God, 
sujiable for cultivation, and for the use of man, and put it under brute 
animals; and threw the people upon bye-corners, precipices, and barren 
moors, there exacting exorbitant rack-rents, until the people were made 
l)enniless, so that they could neither leave the place nor better their con- 
dition in it. The potato-blight blasted their last hopes of retaining life 
Ujjon the unproductive patches — hence they became clamourous for food. 
Their distress was made known through the public press; public meetings 
were held, and it was managed by some known knaves to saddle the God 
of providence with the whole misery — a job in which many of God's pro- 
fessing and well-paid servants took a very active part. The generous public 
responded ; iuimense sums of m6ney were placed in the hands of Govern- 
ment agents and other individuals, to save the people from death by famine 
on the British soil. Colonel Gordon and his worthy allies were silent con- 
tributors, though terrified. The gallant gentleman solicited Government 
through the Home Secretary to purchase the Island of Barra for a penal 
colony, but it would not suit; yet our humane Government sympathised 
with the Colonel and his coadjutors, and consulted tlie honourable and brave 
M'Neil, the chief pauper ganger of Scotland, upon the most etlective and 
speediest scheme to relieve the (jallant Colonel and colleagues from this 
clamour and eyesore, as well as to save their pockets from able-bodied poor 
rates. The result was, that a lil)eral grant from the public money, which 
had l)een granted a twelvemonth before for the purpose of improving and 
ultivating the Highlands, was made to Highland proprietoi-s to assist 
'.em to drain the nation of its l>est bloo<l, and t<.> banish the Highlanders 
across the Atlantic, there to die by famine among strangers in the frozen 
iregions of Canada, far from British sympathy, and far from the resting- 
place of their brave ancestors; though the idea of mingling with kindred 
dust to the Highlanders is a consolation at death, more than any other race 
of peoj)le I have known or i*ead of under heaven. Oh ! Christian people, 
Christian people. Christian fathers and mothers, who are living at case, 
and never exptnicnced such treatment and concomitant suHerings; you 
Christian rulers, Christian electors, and representatives, permit not Christ- 
ianity to blush and hide her face with shame before heathenism and idol- 



128 

atry any longer. I speak with reverence when T say, permit not Mahomet 
Ali to deride our Saviour with the conduct of his followers — allow not 
demons to exclaim in the face of Heaven, What can you expect of us when 
Christians, thy chosen people, are guilty of such deeds of inhumanity to 
their own species 1 I appeal to your feelings, to your respect for Christ- 
ianity and the cause of Christ in the world, that Christianity may be re- 
deemed from the derision of infidels, Mahommedans, idolaters, and demons 
— that our beloved Queen and constitutional laws may not be any longer a 
laughing stock and derision to the despots of the Continent, who can justly 
say: You interefere with us in our dealings with our people; but look at 
your cruel conduct toward your own. Ye hypocrites, first cast out the 
beam out of your own eye, before you meddle with the mote in ours. Come, 
then, for the sake of neglected humanity Siud prosti-ated Christianity/, and 
look at this helpless unfortunate people — place yourselves for a moment in 
their hopeless position at their embarkation, decoyed, in the name of the 
British Government, by false promises of assistance, to procure homes and 
comforts in Canada, which were denied to them at home — decoyed, I say, 
to an unwilling and partial consent, and those who resisted or recoiled 
from this conditional consent, and who fled to the caves and mountains to 
hide themselves from the brigands, look at them, chased and caught by 
policemen, constables, and other underlings of Colonel Gordon, handcuflTed, 
it is said, and huddled together with the rest on an emigrant vessel. Hear 
the sobbing, sighing, and throbbings of their guileless, warm Highland 
hearts, taking their last look, and bidding a final adieu to their romantic 
mountains and valleys, the fertile straths, dales, and glens, which their 
forefathers for time immemorial inhabited, and where they are now lying 
in undisturbed and everlasting repose, in spots endeared and sacred to the 
memory of their unfortunate offspring, who must now bid a mournful fare- 
well to their early associations, which were as dear and as sacred to them 
as their very existence, and which had hitherto made them patient in suf- 
ferings. But follow them on their six weeks' dreary passage, rolling upon 
the mountainous billows of the Atlantic, ill fed, ill clad, among sickness, 
disease and excrements. Then come ashore with them, where death is in 
store for them — hear the captain giving orders to discharge the cargo of 
live-stock — see the confusion, hear the noise, the bitter weeping and bus- 
tle — hear mothers and children asking fathers and husbands, where are we 
going"? hear the reply, cha 'n ^eilfhios againn — we know not — see them in 
grouj)s in search of the Government agent, who they were told was to give 
them money — look at their despairing countenances when they came to 
learn that no agent in Canada was authorised to give them a penny — hear 
them praying the Captain to bring them back that they might die among 
their native hills, that their ashes might mingle with those of their fore- 
fathers — hear this request refused, and the poor helpless wanderers bidding 
adieu to the captain and crew, who showed them all the kindness they 
could, and to the vessel to which they formed something like an attach- 
ment during the voyage — look at them scantly clothed, destitute of food, 
without implements of husbandry, consigned to their fate, carrying their 
children on their backs, begging as they crawl along in a strange land, un- 



129 

qualified to beg or buy their food for want of English, until the slow-mov- 
ing and mournful company reach Toronto and Hamilton in Upper Canada, 
where, according to all accounts, they spread themselves over their respec- 
tive bury ing-pl aces, where famine &nd frost-bitten de&th was waiting them. 
Mothers in Christian Britain, look, I say, at these Highland mothers who 
conceived and gave birth, and who are equally as fond of their ofispring 
as you can be ; look at them by this time, wrapping their frozen remains 
in rags and committing them to a frozen hole — fathers, mothers, sons, and 
daughters, participants of similar sufferings and death, and the living who 
are seeking for death (yet death fleeing from them for a time) performing 
a similar painful duty. This is a painful picture ; the English language 
fails to supply me with words to describe it : I wish the spectrum would 
depart from me to those who could describe it and tell the result. But 
how can Colonel Gordon, the Duke of Sutherland, James Loch, Lord 
Macdonald, and others of the unhallowed league and abettors, after look- 
ing at this sight, remain in Christian communion, ruling elders in Christ- 
ian churches, and partake of the emblems of Christ's broken body and 
shed blood 1 But the great question is, can we as a nation be guiltless, and 
allow so many of our fellow creatures to be treated in such a manner, and 
not exert ourselves to put a stop to it and punish the perpetrators? Is am- 
bition which attempted to dethrone God, become omnijjotent, or so power- 
ful when incarnated in the shape of Highland dukes, lords, esquires, col- 
onels, and knights, that we must needs submit to its revolting deeds? Are 
parchment rights of property so sacred that thousands of human beings 
must be sacrificed year after year, till there is no end of them, to preserve 
them inviolated? Are sheep walks, deer forests, hunting parks, and game 
preserves, so beneficial to the nation that the Highlands must be converted 
into a hunting desert, and the aborigines banished and murdered ? 1 
know that thousands will answer in the negative ; yet they will fold their 
arms in criminal apathy until the extirpation and destruction of my race 
will be completed. Fearful is the catalogue of those who have already 
become the victims of the cursed clearing system in the Highlands, by 
famine, fire, drowning, banishment, vice, and crime. What is to be done, 
and how to proceed, will be the subject of my next — expecting the co- 
operation of the advocates and sympathisers of sufTering humanity. 
I am, meantime, yours, &c., 

DONALD MCLEOD. 
16, South Richmond St., Edinburgh. 



To the Editor of the Northern Ensign. 

Sir, — There is assuredly no lawful day to which I look forward with 
such intense interest as Friday, bein« the day (if favourable) on wliich the 
Ensign cros-ses the tempestuous Pentland Firth It is generally the bearer 
of something new, and very often brings tidings of importance to me from 
the once happy home of my youth, a home which nothing but death can 
ever sever from my remembrance. 
I 



130 

The Ensign is not only the bearer of something new, something cheer- 
ing, something teeming with acts of Christian charity and benevolence, 
but, I am sorry to say, it also brings intelligence mournful, deplorable, and 
inhuman. Who has perused its columns for the last year, and does not 
feel within his breast the deepest sympathy for the sick and the dying, the 
helpless and the destitute, the hoary locks and the furrowed cheek, yea, 
the aged, the friendless, and the infirm, with one foot in the grave and 
another upon its brink, driven by cold-hearted lordlings to seek for 
shelter and beg a morsel of bread in foreign wilds ? Certainly few, indeed! 
How awful is the idea to the cherisher of his native plains, which are still 
as dear to him as life, to be driven far, far away from the land of his fore- 
fathers, the sepulchres, of those whose dust, although now covered with the 
green sward, and it may be trodden upon by some coveteous man's favour- 
ite quadrupeds, is deposited there as a raomento of a glorious resurrection 
to the departed in Christ, and a coming judgment to the oppressors of the 
widow and the fatherless! The pages of the Ensign inform us in rending 
language, piercing to the inmost core, that — 

* Man's inhumanity to man, 
Makes countless thousands mourn,* 

Is it possible that man, a being of a few years existence, and perhaps 
only days, every moment a dependant upon God for the air he breathes, 
the food he eats, and the raiment he puts on, can, with the impartial sword 
of death unsheathed to strike him down as a tyrant and a cumberer of the 
ground, spend so many sleepless nights devising schemes, the result of 
which sinks him as low as were he the companion of the lion, the tiger, 
or the hyena? Can he, as a being possessed of an immortal soul, primitively 
formed in the moral image of God, and destined for eternity, look around 
him upon the cottages of his less temporally favoured and humbler fellow 
mortals, from whence, at morning, night, and noon-day, have arisen to 
the throne of God on high the sacred song and pious prayer, and yet de- 
liberately scatter before the four winds of heaven from off his bit of idol- 
ised soil those beings whose actions in the sight of heaven are more 
acceptable than hisi Yes ; such hearts as are deceitful above all things 
and desperately wicked can do these and more : 

' Unmindful, though a weeping wife 
And helpless offspring mourn !' 

Strange as it is, that such a being as man, exposed to numberless cal- 
amities, coming naked into the world, and who at last must return to the 
ground from whence he was taken, to become the companion and food of 
worms, can, during a few and uncertain years, be guilty of glaring haras- 
sings and inhuman treatment to his fellow men, as if his present little brief 
authority, his few perishing pence, and the gay clothing which so pom- 
pously adorns his polluted clay, were to be his companions through eter- 
nity. Strange, indeed, thus to act, with a coming judgment and an 
endless eternity before him, either to spend a glorious immortality in the 
beatific mansions of the eternal, or wretchedness and woe with the devil 
and his angels. Are pride and oppression the highways to the latter? 



131 

So says the Word of God. Then, ostentatious and puny tyrants, grieve 
no more the Holy Spirit of your Judge. Death, that matchless marksman, 
is hovering over you, from whose icy grasp, the potency of your wealth, 
with all its self -destroying allurements, will not be able to rescue you. The 
bar of God is before you, and there assuredly you must stand and receive 
a sentence conformal)le to your actions done here below ; and then eter- 
nity will receive you into its everlasting embrace, and as the tree falleth so 
shall it lie. Why, then my fellow worm, with theses awful realities before 
you, do you oppress and grind the face of the poor? Remember Lazarus 
and the rich man. With yon, as well as the beggar who begs at your door 
a morsel of bread, from which you too often spurn him as abject, mean, 
and vile, a few square yards of your depopulated domains will only be your 
share in the 'narrow house', over which, in a few years hence, sheep and 
cattle may graze. 

I am, Sir, yours .tc, D. M'LEOD. 

The following is from the pen of a man of affluence, and an independent, 
patriotic, Scotch Lowlander, who has travelled in the Highlands for to ob- 
tain personal knowledge of what was going on there, and whose sympathy 
for the oppressed Highlanders often graced the pages of the Scotch public 
press : — 

To the Editor of the Scottish Herald. 

Sir, — An unaccountable apathy has come over the press this some time 
j»a.st regardinjT Highland affairs. Twelve months ago the nation was made 
to ring with indignant exclamations at the oppressions and privations un- 
der which our Celtic countrymen have been long groaning ; but uotv there 
is as little said on the subject, as if the i:)eople on whose behalf so much 
liad been written were living in perfect tranquility, and had nothing to 
'•omplain of. This, however, is not the case. The grievances of thti Gael 
still remain unredressed. They still continue to live, steeped in the same 
poverty and degradation which have been their lot since they were burned 
out of their ancient habitations in the valleys, and planted like sea fowls on 
the outskirts of their country. While a Highlander is left to shiver out a 
miserable existence on that dismal, sea-begirt locality which he has l)een 
fompelled to exchange for his once comfortable inland farm — while one 
^'l(!n remains unoceupied, capable of affording adequate shelter and nourish- 
nient to him, the public ought not to be satisfied, and the press betrays its 
trust by remaining silent. 

I have been led into these remarks in consequence of accidentally per- 
using an admirable work on the st.ite of the Highlands, published in 1785 
l)y Mr. John Knox, a man celebrated for his patriotism and enlightened 
philanthropy. A>)Out the period Mr. Knox wrote his book, the depopulat- 
ing projects of the Highland lairds were in full opemtion, and this warm- 
hearted individual resolved, if possible, to avert the ruin he saw impending 
over his country. He accordingly travelled alone through the glens and 
mountains of the north on horseback, with the view of convincing the 
chieftains of the cruelty and error of their conduct towaixls their unoffend- 
ing clansmen, and devising schemes for the immediate relief and |)erma- 



132 

nent elevation of those unhappy sons of toil ; and since Mr. Knox's day 
no author that I am aware of has written so powerfully on the distress of 
the Highlanders, or displayed so minute and accurate a knowledge of the 
remedies best adapted for their condition. True, Mr. Knox was no flat- 
terer of the great, no visionary dreamer. He did not, as is the modern 
custom, go to the Highlands to calumniate the natives, to rei)resent them 
as drones and cumberers of the ground, in order to minister to the designs 
of a few rapacious capitalists and hard-hearted landowners; no, he went 
there to console the inhabitants under the hardships they were suffering — 
to proclaim to the world their patient industry, and the many noble virtues 
by which they were distinguished. But he was sensible his work was only 
half done when he accomplished these things. A iiractical benefactor, he 
examined into the fishing and agricultural capabilities of the country, and 
having, after incredible labour, satisfied himself that the Highlands teem- 
ed with resources, sufficient to sustain ten times the number of human 
beings that were starving in those regions, he points out how the resources 
he had discovered might be called forth, and the aboriginal tribes thereby 
kept at home, and made useful citizens, instead of being banished like 
felons into far distant climes. O that Scotchmen of the present day would 
imbibe a little of Mr. Knox's wisdom and fervour in this cause, and look 
with the same compassionate eye that he did towards the neglected hills of 
Caledonia: but, alas ! I fear everything like a disinterested, manly public 
spirit is dead among us, and the age is vanished when the Highlanders- 
would have disdained to ask any other aid save that of their own good 
swords to right their own wrongs. But did Mr. Knox content himself 
^vith using soft words while witnessing those terrible exhibitions of havoc, 
oppression, and expulsion which were then ])revalent in the Highlands % 
Very far from it ; being convinced that the chieftains were for their own 
mean and selfish ends madly bent on destroying a community that might 
be the glory and stay of their country in the hour of peril, his indignation 
rose in proportion to the magnitude of crime those infatuated men were 
committing, and he speaks of their doings in the following emphatic 
terms : — 

" I shall not waste paper on arguments which with some minds pass as 
tinkling sounds. Since neither the piecepts of Christianity nor philosophy 
can make any impression — since humanity and avarice never can assimi- 
late — we must change our ground, and trace the subject to its origin. The 
earth which we inhabit was given for the general support and benefit of 
all mankind, by a Being who is incapable of partiality or destinction ; and 
though in the arrangeoaents of society the earth is divided into very un- 
equal proportions, and these confined to a few individuals, whilst the great 
body of the people are totally cut off, this distribution doth not give the 
possessors a shadow of rigJit to deprive mankind of the frints of their la- 
bour. The earth is the property of Him by whom it was called into exist- 
ence ; and, strictly sjjeaking, no person hath an exclusive right to any 
part of it who cannot show a charter or deed handed down from the ori- 
ginal and only Proprietor of all nature; if otherwise, they hold their pos- 
sessions icpon usage only. Grants of land were made by princes to their 



133 

champions, friends and favourites; and these have been handed down from 
father to son, or by theui transferred to new possessors ; but where are the 
original charters from the Author of nature to those monarchs? In vain 
may we search the archives of nations from one extreme of the globe to 
the other. If so, and who can controvert it] the man who toils at the 
])lough from five o'clock in the morning to sunset, and who sows the seed, 
iiath undoubtedly a right to the produce thereof, preferably to the lounger 
who lies in bed till t^?n, and spends the remainder of the day in idleness, 
extravagance, and frivolous or vicious pursuits. The tenure of the former 
is held from God, founded on the eternal law of justice ; the claim of the 
latter is froni jnan, held in virtue of the revolutions and casual events of 
nations. 

" He therefore who denies his fellow-creatures the just earnings of their 
labour counteracts the benovelent intentions of the Deity — deprives his 
king and (.'onntry of an industrious and useful body of the community, 
whom he drives from starvation at home to slavery abroad — ought to he 
considered as an avowed enemy of societfi^ particularly the man who can 
take the cow from the aged widow, and afterwards the bed, the kettle, and 
the chair — thus turning out the decrepid at foui-score to wander from door 
to door, till infirmities and grief close the scene of tribulation. 

" Since human laws do not reach such persons, while petty rogues are 
cut oflf in dozens, their names ought to he published in every newspaper 
within these kingdoms, and themselves excluded from any place of honour 
or profit y civil or military" 

Now, Sir, let it be observed, these are not the sentiments of a person who 
had revolutionary or party puii>oses to serve, but the deliberate opinions of 
a philosophic, humane, generous, and independent spirit ; who could take 
an enlarged view of the nmtter he had in hand, and sincerely feel for the 
di.stresses, and show that he had a thorou'^h percej)tion of the inalienable 
rights of his fellow-creatures. But I fatigue you, and I would just add in 
conclusion, let your readers ponder well the quotation I have just given 
thenifiom Mr. Knox'spublication,andask themselves thequestion, whether 
it is not as caj>able of being applied to landowners, both in the High- 
lands and Lowlands, in the 19th, as it was in the 18th century. 1 could 
instance facts to prove this ; but, as I understand ^Ir. Donald M'L<'od is 
to give you a few sketches of some pictures of wretchedness he saw in Suth- 
erland lately, I forbear in the meanwhile, and shall simply refer you to 
him for practical illustrations of the truth of the general statements con- 
tained in this epistle. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, 

Edinburgh, 24th July, 1844. John Steill. 

I know many will consider that I ant unwarrantably attacking the 
character of Minist^jrs of the Gospel ; and may say what could they do as 
they had no control over the j>roprietors. Thank God that the Ciospel or 
religion is not to be measured by the conduct of it« j)reacher8, and that 
they are not all alike. Read the following from the pen of a reverend 
gentleman, whom I believe to be a faithful Minister of Christ, upon the 
subject I have liandled a little ago, and I think when you will read the 



134 

evidence of so many witnesses upon oath, you will admit at once that I 
have not exaggerated Colonel Gordon's strictures, and none, I hope, who 
will read the conduct and co-operation of this infamous hireling, Henry 
Bealson^ Minister of Barra, with Colonel Gordon in the evictions in thnt 
island, cannot but admit that such vicious dogs should be exposed, and 
classed in this world, among their companions through eternity, viz., op- 
pressors of the poor, with the Devil and his angels: read 10th chapter, 
Gospel of St. John, 



THE EXILED BARRAMEN AND THEIR CALUMNIATORS. 



" "What I have written, I well know, will give ofifence to many petty tyrants : but 
I am actuated l)y motives of humanity, and of duty to the common Parent and Lord 
of all mankind. And I thank God, who has given me grace to speak the truth 
with boldness, notwithstanding the menaces of certain unprincipled oppressors." — 
Rev. J. L. Buchanan. 



" Since the dawn of the.creation, when wicked Cain imbrued his hands 
in the blood of his brother Abel, there has been two opposite classes in 
the world, viz, — oppressors and oppressed. There are generally other 
two classes who step in as seconds in this unequal contest between right 
and wrong ; and that is the fawning party who })ut their Amen to the 
most cruel deeds of the aich-oppressors, and also those who are, like Moses 
grieved at the sufferings of their brethren, and who, like Job. do what 
they can to " break the arm of the oppressor." 

Since the overthrow of West Indian Slavery the friends of human free- 
dom in Britain have been resting on their oars, with the exception of an 
occasional fling at American despots, and no doubt congratulating them- 
selves, as well they might, for their achievements in the cause of liberty. 
But let them not conclude that a complete victory is obtained even at 
home. The following disclosures will at once convince every philanti-o- 
phist that he should be up and doing; and that there is much need that 
a share of that noble and disinterested sympathy which was shown to the 
sable sons of Africa should now be imparted to our brethren in the 
Western Hebrides. 

It was a most unlucky day to the Highlands that Sir John M*Neil was 
commissioned to investigate their condition ; and the one-sided Report 
which he has laid before the Legislature of our country shows how incom- 
petent he was for the undertaking. Our analysis of the annexed docu- 
ment, which he obtained from the. Parochial Board of Barra, and which, 
by the way, was considered by the pro-clearings and expatriating Press the 
cream of his trashy Report, will show every unprejudiced reader how little 
confidence may be placed in Sir John's evidence. Our readers prol)ably 
recollect the excitement which was caused in Glasgow and Edinburgh 
about 18 months ago, by the appearance of some expatriated and starving 
Barramen. The unfeeling conduct of the proprietor. Colonel Goi-don, and 
his underlings on that occasion was the subject of many well-merited 



135 

animadversions , both from the platform and the press. But in order to 
shield Colonel Gordon from these castigations, the Barra authorities, headed 
by Henry Beatson their minister, have thrown their mantle around him. 
and besides have made a malicious, but a most silly attack upon the ex- 
patriated Barramen. This attack is now fully six months before the 
public ; but till within a few days these caluminated creatures have not 
heard a word of it. The following is a verbatim copy of the infamous 
document: — 

" We are acquainted with Barr Macdougall, Donald M'Leaii, commonly 
called Donald Hecterson, Roderick M'Neil, senior, and Roderick McNeil 
junior, who have been referred to in the newspapers as persons who had 
left Barra and gone to Edinburgh because of their inability to obtain the 
means of subsistence here. They were all provided with houses at the 
time of their departure. They were all, either employed by the Relief 
Committee or might have been so at the date when they left Barra. With 
the exception of Roderick M'Neil, senior, who left this in the first week 
of September, all the others left Barra in July. Barr Macdougall was 
notoriously lazy, and beforeColonel Gordon had acquired this property, had 
voluntarily surrendered his croft at Greine, and subsisted thereafter by 
begging, for which purpose he perambulated the country. On the failure 
of the potatoes he became altogether destitute, and was received upon the 
lists of the Relief Committee. Roderick M'Neill, junior, was employed 
by Mr. M*Alister at Is a day, which he voluntarily relinquished, declaring 
that the wages was too low. He then applied to the inspector of poor 
for assistance, and was refused, on the ground that he had left Mr. M'Alis- 
ter's service, where he could have obtained the means of subsistence He 
was an alile-bodied man. 

Donald M'Lean was an indolent man who never did much work even 
when wages could be earned ; whose wife perambulated the country beg- 
ging from house to house. 

Roderick M'Neill, senior, was several times accused of theft, and once 
apprehended on a charge of sheep stealing, but was not convicted. 

Of Ann M'Pherson or M'Kinnon, nothing is known in Barra, unless 
lie be a sister-in-law to Roderick M'Neil, senior, who had an illegitimate 
hi id to a person of the name of M'Pherson, and whose own name is 
MKinnon. 

We are of opinion that the eleemosynai*y relief afforded to the people 
has had a proj»ulicial effect upon thiir character and habits ; that it has 
induced many to misrepresent their circumstances with a view to partici- 
pate in it ; that it has taught tlie people generally to rely more uponotiiers, 
and less upon themselves; and that we h;ive reason to believe tliat, relying 
upon this source of subsistence, some persons even neglected to sow tlieir 
lands." 

(Signed) Henr^ Beatson, Minister. 

D. W. M'Gillvray, J.P., Tacksman. 
Wni. Birnie, Manager for Colonel Gordon, 
Donald M. Nicolson, M.D. Tacksman. 
Archibald M'Douald, Elder, Tenant. 



136 

The following declaration which wo have obtained from three of the 
individuals mentioned in the preceding document is a true statement of the 
case ; being corroborated by other parties who are well acquainted with 
the state of affairs in that island : — 

Declaration of Barr M'Dougall, Roderick M'Neill, senior, and Ann 
M'Kinnon, being three individuals of the expatriated people of 
Barra. 

'' It is not true that we were all provided with houses before we left 
Barra ; neither were we employed, nor might have been employed by the 
Relief Committee at the date when we left Barra. Barr M'Dougall, and 
Donald M'Lean occupied houses on the farm rented by Dr. M'Gillvray, 
and got notice to quit them a week before the term of Whitsunday, 1850. 
They did not remove till their houses had been partly stripped and their 
fires put out. Donald M'Lean did not remove till his house was totally 
unroofed and remained for ten days within the bare walla without any cover- 
ing but the sail of a boat : though he was at the time lingering under the 
disease of which he has since died. Barr M'Dougall did not give up his 
croft at Greine voluntarily ; but when his rent was augmented without 
any corresponding advantages he fell into arrears, like all his neighbours.* 
His stock was seized by the factor and sold for the arrears — consequently 
had to surrender his croft, and finally his native country along with it. 
Does not deny that he sought assistance when ])ressed by famine ; but 
always laboured when he could find employment. 

Donald M'Lean was not indolent, as is falsely reported ; but, the poor 
man was quite incapable of standing fatigue or hard labour, as he was for 
a long while labouring under the consumptive disease which relieved him 
from the fangs of his pampered calumniators, six weeks after he went to 
Edinburgh. 

Roderick M'Neil senior, was not several times accused of theft, and 
never apprehended. There was an attempt made once to implicate him, 
by another man who broke into a grocer's shop and who afterwards (in 
order to lighten his own punishment) accused Roderick M'Neil, senior, as 
being art and part ; but the said Roderick appeared before the Fiscal, Mr. 
Duncan M'Nee, at Lochmaddy, North Uist, where he was honourably ac- 
quitted, and was paid the sum of twelve shillings for his trouble. 

Roderick M'Neil, junior, laboured for a long time for the Relief Com- 
mittee, at roads and other works for lOJ lbs of meal per week, which was 
all the means of subsistence allowed for himself, his wife and tw^o children. 
Finding death staring them in the face, Roderick's wife went to the su- 

* For the information of our readers we may here notice the manner in which 
the Barra crofters have been reduced to their present condition. When kelp was 
in great demand the former proprietor, started a kelp manufactory, at which the 
services of all the spare hands in the island were required. He always preferred 
labour to money ; and when he found that the crofters could pay their rent in three 
months he increased his claims gradually, until each crofter required to keep a 
labourer there all the year round. After the manufacturing of kelp stopped the 
rents continued at the same figure. This is the whole secret of the Barra desti- 
tution. 



137 

perintendent of the Relief Board and begged of him to allow her to work 
in her husband's place that he might go to the fishing, jvhich the super- 
intendent granted ; and for this favour Roderick shared the fish with him. 
There were many females labouring for 10 hours a day in the island of 
Barra at that time. They were compelled from the system of labour to 
work with wheelbarrows and carry burdens. The method taken to load 
them was as follo\vs : — The female being ordered to turn her back to the 
turf-cutter and to place her hands behind in a position almost on her knee«, 
the turfs were laid on her back in succession till she had a sufficient bur- 
ded — enough to rise under and carry for some distance — there lay them 
down to come back for more. They had often to gather their petticoats 
about the sod in order to keep it on their back, while, in wet weather, the 
water, sometimes the melted snow, streamed down their back and sides. 
At this work Roderick M'Neil's wife continued till within two days of her 
confinement ! ! ! 

Ann M'Kinnon acknowledges having had a child ten years ago ; but 
neither herself nor her child ever became a burden on the Parochial Board 
of Bai ra ; though (in consequence of the fatlier's death) the maintenence 
of the child fell entirely on herself She also laboured at both the turf- 
carrying and the wheelbarrow so long as she could get work, at the rate of 
4 J ll>s of meal per week. 

We further declare that we went to Henry Beatson, minister, requesting 
certificates of character, which he refused, alleging that he was not in the 
habit of giving such to any one. However we see that he has sent one 
after us ; tliough to his eternal shame he has given it in direct violation 
of the Holy Scriptures which he pretends to expound to the people, and 
which s:iys, ' Thou shalt not raise a false report ; put not thine hand with 
the wicked to be an unrighteous witness '. — Exod. xxiii. 1. That the 
said Henry Beatson is a most unfeeling person. He once told James 
M'Donald, ac indigent man, when he solicited aid, ' Go to the mountains 
and eat grass and heather ! ' He has been most energetic in assisting 
Colonel Gordon's underlings in forcing away from their fatherland tlie 2000 
which were transported to America from Barra and South Uist, and who 
are now begging and starving in Up|)er Canada. That there are at the 
present time men and wonjen working about his manse, raising fences, 
trenching, itc, for one pound of meal ]>er day, and although they would 
perish of cold, they dare not approach the minister's kitchen fire. That 
the meal which is doled out on these hard conditions, under the superin- 
tend(Mice of .Mrs. Beatson, is believed to be the remains of the old Relief 
Committee n^eal. 

We also know D. W. M'Gillvray, J. P., Tacksman, and think he should 
be the last to speak of ' illegitimate children,' as a poor idiotic foujale who 
l>erambulated the country fatliered a child on him, and declared that var- 
ious stratjigems were tried to prevent disclosures which cannot be men- 
tione<l here. 

We have nothing particular to say of Wni. Bimie, Manager for Colonel 
Gordon, as he is but seldom in the island. 

Of Donald N. Nicolson, M.D.,Tacksman, we will only wait to saiy that 



138 

after continuing for years, * adding house to house and field to field/ the 
woes which are })ronounced against such have at last overtaken hiui ; his 
whole effects having been sold by his creditors a few weeks ago. 

Archibald M'Donald, Elder, Tenant, is a bastard son; and the gallant 
Colonel himself had no fewer than three bastard children to grace the 
name of Gordon." 

The above declaration was taken at Glasgow, on the 26th of January, 
1852, in the presence of the undersigned witnesses, and was read in 
Gaelic to the Declarants, who affirm that it is correct. 

ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR, Witness. 
DUNCAN M'DOUGALL, do. 
NEIL CAMPBELL, do. 

WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE, do. 

As the Declarants have not said anything in reference to the last para- 
graph in the accusations, we would simply ask, What person in his senses 
will believe that " eleemosynary relief," as administered by the Barra 
Authorities, would have the tendency to make the recipients "neglect to 
sow their land" so long as they are allowed to gather the crumbs that 
fall from the Parochial Board ! 

To follow these investigations a little farther, we cannot do it better 
than by giving the following well authenticated communication received 
from a gentleman who had resided for some time in Barra, and was an eye- 
witness of the enormities perpetrated there during the summer of 1851 : — 

"I'he unfeeling and deceitful conduct of those acting for Colonel Gor- 
don, in Barra and South Uist last summer, cannot be too strongly censured. 
The duplicity and art which was used by them in order to entrap the un- 
wary natives is worthy of the craft and cunning of an old slave-trader. 
Many of the poor people were told in my hearing, that Sir John M'Neill 
would be in Canada before them, where he would have every thing neces- 
sary for their comfort prepared for them. Some of the officials signed 
a document binding themselves to emigrate in order to induce the poor 
people to give their names; but in spite of all these stratagems many of 
the people saw through them and refused out and out to go. When the 
transports anchored in Loch Boisdale the tyrants threw otf their mask, 
and the work of devastation and cruelty commenced. Tlie poor people 
were commanded to attend a public meeting at Loch Boisdale where the 
transports lay, and according to the intimation, any one absenting himself 
from the meeting was to be fined in Two Pounds. At this meeting some 
of the natives were seized and in spite of their entreaties were sent on 
board the transports. One stout Highlander, named Angus Johnstone, 
resisted with such pith that they had to hand-ciifFhim before he could be 
mastered ; but in consequence of the priest's interference his manacles 
were taken off and marched between four officers on board the emigrant 
vessel. One morning, during the transporting season, we were suddenly 
awakened by the screams of a young female who had been recaptured in 
an adjoining house ; having escaped after her first apprehension. We all 
rushed to the door and saw the broken-hearted creature with dishevelled 



139 

hair and swollen face, dragged away by two constables and a ground officer. 
Were you to see the racing and chasing of policemen, constables, and 
ground officers, pursuing the outlawed natives you would think, only for 
their colour, that you had been by some miracle transported to the banks 
of the Gambia on the slave coast of Africa. 

•'The conduct of the Rev. H. Beatson on that occasion is deserving of 
the censure of every feeling heart. This *'Wolf in sheep's clothing" made 
himself very officious, as he always does when he has an opportunity of 
oppressing the poor Barramen and of gaining the favour of Colonel Gor- 
don. In fact, he is the most vigilant and assiduous officer Colonel Gordon 
has. He may been seen in Castle Bay, the principal anchorage in Barra, 
whenever a sail is hoisted, directing his men, like a game-keeper with his 
hounds, in case any of the doomed Barramen should escape, so that he 
might get his land cultivated and improved for nothing. They offered 
one day to board an Arran boat who had a poor man concealed, but the 
master, John Crawford, lifted a hand-spike and threatened to split the 
skull of the first man who would attempt to board his l>oat, and thus the 
poor Barran)en escaped their clutches. 

" I may state in conclusion that two girls, daughters of John M'Dou- 
gall, brother of Barr M'Dougall whose name is mentioned in Sir John 
McNeill's Report, have fled to the mountains to elude the grasp of the ex- 
patriators, where they still are, if in life. Their father, a frail old man, 
along with the rest of the family, have been sent to Canada. The resj)ec- 
tive ages of these girls is 12 and 14 years. Others have fled in the same 
manner, but I cannot give their names just now." 

Let us now follow the exiled Barramen to the "new world" and witness 
their deplorable condition and privations in a foreign land. Tiie Quebec 
Times s&ys: — 

" Many of our readers may not be aware that their lives such a pei-son- 
age as Colonel Gordon, proprietor of large estates, South Uist and Barra, 
in the Highlands of Scotland; we are sorry to be obliged to introduce him 
to their notice, under circumstances which will not give them a very fa- 
vourable opinion of his character and lieart. 

"It api>ears that tenants on the above mentioned estates were on the 
verge of starvation, and had probably become an eye-sore to the gallant 
Colonel ! He decided on shipping them to America. What they were 
to do there, was a question lie never put to his conscience. Once landed 
in Canada, he had no further concern about them. Up to last week, 1,100 
Bouls from his estates liad landed in Quebec, and begged tlicir way to Up- 
per Canada ; when in the summer season, having only a morsel of food to 
procure, they probably escaped the extreme misery which seems to be 
the lot of those who followed them. 

On their arrival here, they voluntarily made and signed the following 
statement: — ** We the undersigned jiassengers per Admiral froni Storno- 
way, in the Highlands of Scotland, do solemnly depose to the following 
facts, — That Colonel Gordon is the* proprietor of the estates of Soutli Uist 
and Barra; that among many hundreds of tenants and cotters whom he 
has sent this season from his estjites to Qiajiada, he gave directions to his 



i€m 



uo 

factor, Mr. Fleming of Cluny Castle, Aberdeenshire, to ship on board of 
the above named vessel a number of nearly 450 of said tenants and cottars 
from the estate in Barra — that accordingly, a great majority of these peo- 
ple, among whom were the undersigned, proceeded voluntarily to embark 
on board the Admiral, at Loch Boisdale, on or about the 11th August, 
1851 ; but that several of the people who were intended to be shipped for 
this port, Quebec, refused to proceed on board, and in fact, absconded 
from their homes to avoid the embarkation. Whereupon Mr. Fleming 
gave orders to a policeman, who was accompanied by the ground officer of 
the estate of Barra, and some constables, to pursue the people who had 
ran away among the mountains ; which they did, and succeeded in cap- 
turing about twenty from the mountains and islands in the neighbourhood ; 
but only came with the officers on an attempt being made to handcuff them ; 
and that some who ran away were not brought back, in consequence of 
which four families at least, have been divided, some having come in the 
ships to Quebec, while other members of the same families were left in the 
Highlands. 

" ' The undersigned further declare, that those who voluntarily em- 
barked did so under promise to the effect, that Colonel Gordon would 
defray their passage to Quebec ; that the Government Emigration Agent 
there would send the whole party free to Upper Canada, where, on arrival 
the Government Agents would give them work, and furthermore, grant 
them land on certain conditions. 

" 'The undersigned finally declare, that they are now landed in Quebec 
so destitute, that if immediate relief be not afforded them and continued 
until they are settled in employment, the whole will be liable to perish 
with want.' 

• (Signed) Hector Lamont, 

and 70 others. 

" This is a beautiful picture. Had the scene been laid in Russia or 
Turkey the barbarity of the proceeding would have shocked the nerves of 
the readers ! but when it happens in Britain, emphatically the land of 
liberty where every njan's house, even the hut of the poorest, is said to 
be his castle, the expulsion of these unfortunate creatures from their 
homes — the man-hunt with policeman and Bailiffs — the violent separation 
of families — the parents torn from the child, the mother from her daughter 
— the infamous trickery practised on these who did embark — the aban- 
donment of the aged, the infirm women, and tender children in a foreign 
land — form a tableau which cannot be dwelt on for an instant without 
horror. Words cannot depict the atrocity of the deed. For cruelty less 
savage, the dealers of the South have been held up to the execration of 
the world. 

And if, as men, the sufferings of these our fellow-creatures find sympathy 
in our hearts, as Canadians their wrongs concern us more dearly. The 
fifteen hundred souls whom Colonel Gordon has sent to Quebec this season, 
have all been supported for the past week at least, and conveyed to Upper 
Canada at the exj)ense of the Colony ; and on their arrival in Toronto and 
Hamilton, the greater number have been dependent on the charity of the 



141 

benevolent for their morsel of bread. Four hundred are in the river at 
present and will arrive in a day or two, making a total of nearly 2,000 of 
Colonel Gordon's tenants and cotters whom the province has to support. 
The winter is at hand, work is becoming scarce in Upper Canada. Where 
are these people to find food 1 " 

Having laid a great mass of conclusive evidence befoi*e the public, we 
must now " sum up." We are certain that every man who has any sense 
of honour and justice cannot but condemn Colonel Gordon and his officials 
for these hitherto unheard of cruelties, and will loudly protest against the 
woes which are being heaped upon the head of the poor Hebridean. Is 
such conduct as we have now recorded to be winked at and tolerated by a 
nation who have laboured more in the sacred cause of human liberty than 
any other nation from the beginning of the world 1 Are those very men 
who have ungrudgingly paid £20,000,000 for the freedom of the negroes 
on a few of the West Indian islands : and who have effected the emanci- 
pation of every captive within the British dominions, to stand by with 
folded arms and not offer a helping hand to their own flesh and blood in 
the Western Isles — to those who have victoriously fought their l)attles and 
kept foreign invadei-s from their shores ] Are they to remain calm and 
unmoved, while British laws are being violated, and the poor inoffensive, 
unprotected, and down-trodden Celt is hand cuffed and dragged from his 
country and his kinsman with less regard to his comfort than if he were a 
l>ea8t of burden ? Certainly not. And we are coniident that all an en- 
lightened and a benevolent public require to stir them up to cause a proper 
and impartial investigation being made is to lay the case explicitly before 
them. Instead of trusting to a " broken reed," as Sir John M'Neil has 
proved himself to be, let a disinterested public act in this case as they 
have done in that already mentioned. In 1838, when conflicting accounts 
of the cruelties endured by the Africans were wafted across the Western 
Ocean, inslead of confiding in the report brought by Government Officials, 
thefriendsof the Negro sent a deputation of enlightened and fearh^ss men 
who brought back a trustworthy report, and they went to work accord- 
ingly. Let them do the same now and send men who will not pass by the 
cottage of the poor but will listen to what he has to say — neither will ac- 
cept of the gifts of the rich, and we have no doubt that the result will be 
the same — the emancipation of the poor Hebridean and liis restoration to 
his rights and his responsibilities as a British subject. Tiien petty tyrants 
will see that however well concocted their plans — however far removed 
from the public eye "that their sins will find them out." 

I ask Mrs. Stowe, what is your Uncle Tom^a Cabin or your Died in 
comparison to such treatment as this? and dare you say in the face of 
such (living) evidence that my narrative is a ridiculous unfounded 
calumny, and ridiculous and absurd accusation. I am told when writing 
this that you were lately in Home paying homage to his Holiness and his 
Jesuit Ministers and kissing his toe; but whatever indulgence he nniy grant 
you for jHjrverting truth and falsifying philosophy, and whatever promises 
he has made to you for absolutions tor such sins, I tell you in plain 



142 

Heeland Scotch terras that you will find all his promises insufficient to 
screen or protect you from me, in your future praise of Highland Pro- 
prietors. And may I not ask, why is not all the Christian nations of the 
world up with a united universal cry of disapprobation of the system, 
law, and reprobation of the foul deeds committed under the protection of 
such law and system, and demand of the British Jjegislature their aboli- 
tion and erasement from the Statute book, and retribution of their rights 
to their victims — a cry and demand in which the slave owners of America 
would have a tenfold better right to join than the English aristocracy 
had to remonstrate with them on American Slavery. 

The following is my appeal published before T left Scotland : 

To the Editor of the Northern Ensign. 

Sir, — Highland destitution and famine in the Highlands have become 
proverbial and so familiar that people think and speak of them as a 
calamity hereditary to the Highlanders ; and, indeed, since they have be- 
come so burdensome to the public for the last half century (keeping them 
alive upon charity), the more fortunate portion of the Christian world are 
beginning to think, and say, that they should not exist any longer, and 
that the sooner they are exterminated the better. The appellation Gael, 
Celt, or Gaul, has now become a reproach ; yet those to whom the titles 
originally belong were at one time the terror and admiration of all 
Europe. They at one period inhabited Upper Asia, and took possession 
of Italy, and marched upon Rome 390 years before the advent of Christ 
— defeated the Roman army, laid the city in a heap of ruins, and levied 
one thousand pounds weight of gold of the then invincible Romans to 
purchase their departure. They were the people of whom Cccsar said — 
after a fearful struggle of ten years fighting, in which his army cut off 
one million of them — that he never observed one Gael turning his back, 
but that they all died fighting in their ranks without yielding one foot. 
But to come nearer home. They were a race of men who, when they 
had to encounter the Romans at the foot of the Gram})ian Hills (under 
the command of Galgacus), defied the Roman legion (under the com- 
mand of Agricola, the most renowned of the Roman generals), whose 
discipline, science, and civilization, on that bloody occasion, drew forth 
the admiration of Tacitus, the Roman annalist, who declared that the 
Caledonian Celts were the most formidable enemy and the bravest people 
that ever R,ome encountered — that, indeed, they were unconquerable. 
That learning and civilization followed this race of people is evident, and 
could be proved from a chain of Scottish historians whose works are 
still extant. * I am tired,' said a distinguished writer many centuries 
ago, ' of having Roman authors quoted when the commencement of our 
civilization is spoken of, while nothing is said of the Celts, or of our obli- 
gations to them.' It was not the Latins, it was the Celts, who were our 
first instructors. Aristotle declared that philosophy was derived by the 
Greeks from the Gauls, and not imparted to them. — [See introduction to 
Logan's " Scottish GaeL") 



143 

You will pardon me, should I ask, through you, the most avowed 
and inveterate enemies of the Highlander, where, or when, has the 
UigJiland Celt stained the character given them by the Roman annalist 
at tlie early period of our history ? If we turn up the annals of Euro- 
pean hloody battle fields, from the Grampians to Waterloo, where will 
we find bravery to excel Highland bravery 1 If we look for discipline, 
morality and religion, among the British army, we must find such in the 
Highland regiments. 

We have now a small remnant of the progeny of this mighty race of 
men who conquered civilized and enliglitened Europe, yea more, who 
converted Europe from heathenism and paganism to Christianity ; I say 
we have them in obscure comers of the West and North Highlands of 
Christianized, vain, vaunting, civilized Scotland, dying by famine, to 
the everlasting disgrace, confusion, and abhorrence here and hereafter, 
of those, and their abettors, to whose cupidity, ambition, and steel hearted 
inhumanity, thousands of deaths in the Highlands could be attributed. 
Let this be told and proclaimed throughout the length and breadth of 
the land, on ever} market-cross, and in every place of resort, all over 
Europe — that Roman Catholic and Mahommedan nations may record it 
against them, when endeavours are making to proselytise them. But 
thank God that Christianity is not to be measured by the conduct of Chiis- 
tians ; if it were the heathens would do well to reject it. 

Let the Legislature of this nation (to their .shame) know it, that the 
only portion of Her Majesty's subjects who, by language and appearance, 
legitimately can lay claim to be the progeny of those who chastised and 
forced many a formidable invader from Britain's shore — who fought the 
battles of this nation at home and abroad, from the day of the Gram- 
pians to Waterloo, and who brought immortal praise and laurels of 
victory home to Britain — let the representatives of Scotland (the dumb 
dogs, with one honourable exception, Mr. Cowan) know it — that in 
return for their ancestor's services to the nation, they, the progeny are 
doomed to die by famine, or be exterminated from the land, so dear to 
them by many sacred ties, by compulsory emigmtion, that they were 
made subject to, and left the victims of the most wanton cruelty, ingrati- 
tude, and injustice that the most avaricious liarbarians could devise. 
That the most fertile valleys, straths, and glens of Caledonia, which they 
have Ijeen for ages defending, and purchased so often with their dearest 
blood, are depopulated, and convei*tcd by a few selfish minions, who have 
neither ancestry nor bravery to boast of, if they were properly searched, 
into deer-forests and hunting-parks, for the amusement of English snobs 
and sporting gents, where the image of God upon a Gael dare not 
approach ; while the Celts, who can boast of both bravery and ancestry, 
are turned adrift as beings of no value, upon barren, unproductive moore 
and precipices, and on skirts exposed to all the casualities of the season, 
depi-ived of every means to better their condition. Here they are dying, 
or living, what wo may term a lingorin;?, agonizing death, fed by the 
cold, sparing, stinted hand of charity, when twenty -four lines (upon an 
octavo) of an Act of Parliament would cure all. 



144 

In the days of one of the Csesars (during what are called the dark ages) 
there was a law in Rome, that none would be allowed to sit in the State 
Council, ride in a chariot, hold any public office, or sit at a public feast, 
while it was known that any of his dependents were in want ; and du- 
ring the prosperous and victorious days of Greece, they had two tem- 
ples built, one for virtue and one for honour, and so constructed that it 
was impossible to enter the temple of honour without going through the 
temple of virtue, — intended for a noble purpose, and it had the desired 
effect in those days. Would to God we had such qualifications, and we 
would not have so many direful revolting deeds perpetrated, and so many 
ignobles raised to honour and titles till there is no room to ascend. Let 
the ministers of the everlasting Gospel, the ambassadors of Christ, hear 
it, that in proportion as the people are diminished and extirpated, their 
services will be less required — sheep, bullocks, deer, blackcocks, and 
pheasants, will require no ministry. It is a part of their commission to 
plead the widow, the fatherless,, and the orphan's cause — to resist and 
denounce the oppressors, — to follow the example of their Master and 
the prophets in reproviug evil doers. How can they prostrate them- 
selves at the throne of mercy, pleading with God for the spiritual wants 
of their flocks, and not utter a word against these wolves who are tramp- 
ling under foot, scattering their flocks by banishment (under the name 
of emigration) depriving them of the land created for their subsistence, 
and bestowing it upon brute-beasts — thus ushering thousands to a pre- 
mature grave 1 How can they see this, and not interpose, plead with 
God, and call upon the nation to their assistance, that the ungodly, un- 
national, and unjust law which tolerates and protects such evil-doers, may 
be expunged from the Statute book 1 This is their duty — they may seek 
a subterfuge to disregard it, but if they will, T/ie day is coining when 
tliey shall repent^ if they can find a place for repenta?ice. Thank God we 
have a Rev. Charles Thomson in Wick, a Dr. Begg in Edinburgh, and 
others — For woe*s me, my people are rohhed and sold, and those who rob 
them say, Blessed he the Lord, for I am rich, and their own shepherds pity 
them not. 

I would ask the mercantile and manufacturing portion of this nation, 
will you stand by carelessly and callously, seeing the home market des- 
troyed, millions of those that should and would be the consumers of your 
goods banished from our shores, dying by famine, or living in a state of 
misery and wretchedness, that they can be of no service to you, but the 
reverse — a burden to you 1 I leave you to reflect upon this for a time. 
Sheep and bullocks may supply you, but they will take very little in ex- 
change ; but supply and demand, when corresponding, are the very life 
of the home market. I ask you, literary men or knowledge manufac- 
turers, — How are the })eople ignorant 1 The people are in misery, dy- 
ing by famine, and cannot buy knowledge. There is abundance of 
wealth in the land, and abundance of work before you ; but if the peo- 
ple are banished from the land or die by famine, you may shut your 
sho})S, for sheep, bullocks, deer, black cocks, and pheasants will not em- 
ploy you, and you need not attempt to teach them. Rise, then, from 



145 

your lethargy, and stand, no longer in your criminally callous indifference 
regarding the producing classes. You are the fourth estate, and to 
whom much is given, much shall be required. To the Government of 
this nation I would say, and put them in mind, that this kingdom wag 
often invaded before, and often threatened, and it may happen yet. You 
have allowed the best part of the national ramparts to be trodden down 
and razed to the foundation, you have allowed the patriotism or love of 
country which was characteristic of Highlanders and which was so 
powerful to animate them at all times when encountering an enemy, to 
be destroyed ; you have allowed, and helped to banish them from your 
sliores, to foreign strands, where, at no distant period, they or their off- 
spring may become as formidable enemies as their sires were formidable 
friencls. Then you will find that cruel Highland proprietors, English 
snobs, and sporting gents, sheep, bullocks, rams, deer, blackcocks, and 
pheasants, will make but a poor stand for your nation's defence. I say, 
reflect. This is the time, this is the day to retract, to retrieve, and to re- 
claim lost confidence, and make reparation to the unfortunate Highland 
victims of maladministration and of cruel short-sighted policy. 

The accounts received daily by the Secretary of the Highland Destitu- 
tion Relief Committee (of which I am a member) are heart-rending and 
revolting to humanity. A reverend gentleman writes thus : — ' You have 
sent me two pounds ; I bought meal with the money but there were so 
many applicants for relief that I had to divide it in ounces.* Anotber 
writes ; — ' I acknowledge the receipt of £5, but I must keep it a secret 
or the people will storm my house ; yet I am travelling among them, 
and enquiring, and where I find that death by famine is approaching, I 
administer relief. I need not trouble you with any more. This is a 
sample of them all.' People of high standing in society were finding 
fault with me for advising the poor Highlanders to take sheep or any 
other animal they could get their hands on and eat them, before they 
would allow themselves or their children to die ; but I'll warrant you, 
if these gentlemen were only getting an ounce each of oatmeal to make 
water gruel for their supper, in Edinburgh, and had no other prospect for 
food until a few more ounces came from the Isle of Skye, there would not 
be a hen-roost nor pig-stye in or about Edinburgh but they would pay 
a visit to before morning, and where they would help themselves. This 
is a feai-ful state of matters in a country professing Christianity. Yet, 
however dreadfid and threatening it is, I have often said, and will say it 
yet, that until the land in the Highlands is under a difiei-ent system of 
management, matters will be getting worse and worse. I hope that 
the Rev. Charles Thomson's exhortation in your last will l>e followed 
up by every one whose breast contains a spark of hunianity, and who is 
favoured with an opportunity. — I am, Ac., 

DONALD M'LEOD. 
16, South Richmond Street, 
Edinburgh, July 14, 1851. 



146 

I have, in the preceding pages, particularized the Duke of Sutherland 
as chief depopulator of the Highlands ; I must now notice those next to 
him, Athol, Breadalbane, Lord Macdonald, and Gordon, as you will see 
from the following : — A gentleman of the name of R. Alister,*in 1853, 
wi'ote a work which was inscribed to another patriotic philanthropist of the 
name of Patrick Edward Dove, Edinburgh, titled " Barriers to National 
Prosperity," in which he demonstrates the short-sighted policy of Highland 
proprietors in a style worthy of the author and editor, INIr. Dove. The Mar- 
quis of Breadalbane was offended at seeing the work advertised, and wrote 
the following letter through the public press. As I was not personally 
acquainted Avith the extent of the clearance system in that quarter, I con- 
sider the most prudent step I can adopt is to give verbatim Breadalbane's 
letter and Mr. Alister's reply : — 

COPY LETTER. 

To the Editor of the Perthshire Advertiser. 

21 Park Lane, London, ) 
June 18, 1853. j 

" Sir, — My attention has been directed to an article in the Perthshire 
Advertiser, of the 13th ultimo., in which a work, entitled Barriers to the 
National Prosperity of Scotland, is reviewed, and from which are quoted 
passages tending to give an impression of the management of my estates- 
in the Highlands, which is inconsistent with the facts. 

The extract from Mr. Alister's work to which 1 more particularly 
allude is the following : — " At the present rate of depopulation, the High- 
lands must soon be one vast wilderness ; and although their numbers were 
never great in the British Army, yet we aver that one-tenth of the men 
"who fought in the last war could not be got in the Highlands. Many of 
the smaller glens are totally cleared, and any of the peasantry remaining 
do not calculate that they can obtain a home for many years longer. 
Glencoe, the Black Mount, and Lochtayside, where the Campbells 
flourished, are swept ; and although no difficulty was experienced by the 
late Marquis of Breadalbane in raising three battalions of fencibles at the 
last war, we are sure that 150 men could not now be obtained." 

Glencoe does not, and never did, belong to me. 

Mr. Alister appears to labour under a mistake as to the history of the 
Black Mount, inasmuch as he would seem to assert that it was formerly 
densely inhabited ; whereas the fact is, that, as far back as the records of 
my family reach (for some centuries) till towards the close of last century, 
when it was put into very large sheep farms, that country was always a 
deer forest, and consequently uninhabited, except by the foresters. As I 
began to convert it again into a forest upwards of thirty years since, it is 
obvious that it could only have been in the hands of tenants for a (com- 
paratively speaking) short period. The present population of that district 
is, I believe, as gi-eat as it was in the times to which Mr. Alister alludes, 
and, in point of fact, the number of families employed by me tlieje now, 
as shepherds and foresters, is much the same as the number who lived 
there when the ground was tenanted by farmers. 

* Mr, Alex. Eobertson of Dundonachie. 



147 

On my Nether Lome property, I believe the population to be greater 
than it was fifty or sixty years ago. 

The })opulation on the banks of Loch Tay is certainly not as large as it 
was twenty years since, and it is fortunate for all parties concerned that it 
is not, as a continuance of the old system would, before this, have pro- 
duced disastrous results. 

When I succeeded to the proi^erty, I found the land cut up into pos- 
sessions too small for the proper conduct of agricultural operations, or the 
full employment of the occupiers. The consequence was, that habits of 
idleness were engendered, great poverty existed, and the cultivation of the 
land was in a most unsatisfactory state — the social, the moral, and physi- 
cal condition of the people being thus unfavourably aftected. 

A continuance of this state of matters was clearly inconsistent with the 
improvement of the country and the welfare of the inhabitants, subjects 
to which I at once, on my succession, directed my attention, and to which 
I have ever since constantly directed my best thoughts. 

To carry these views into etlect, it was absolutely necessary that the 
holdings should be so increased in size as to give sufficient employment to 
the resources of the occupiers, and this could only be done by consolidat- 
ing some of the smallest possessions, retaining the tenants who appeared 
most likely to profit by the change. 

In no case was this done in the way implied by Mr. Alister, as the 
changes were always made gradually, and so as to produce as little incon- 
venience as possible to those whom it was necessary to remove. Indeed, 
-whenever, from the circumstances of the case, it was practicable, those 
who were removed were offered other houses. 

In reality, there has been no depopulation of the district, in the seftse 
in which the word is usually accepted. There is still a large population 
on both sides of Loch Tay, and almost all the land is still held in, com- 
paratively speaking, small possessions. 

The results of the system I have pursued speak for themselves. If any 
l^erson who saw Lochtayside twenty years since were to see it now, he 
could not fail to be struck with the change for the better in the face of 
the country, in the state of the dwellings, and in the appearance and 
habits of the people. 

A very satisfactory proof of the flourislnng condition of the people may 
be found in the fact, that, while the inhabitants of many parts of the 
Highlands were suffering from famine in the years 1846-47, and were to 
a great extent indebted for mere existence to the charity of the public, 
none of the money so collected was expended on, or required by, the 
inhabitants of my estat<;s, even on the west coast. All were supported by 
internal, not by external aid, although the failure of the potato crop was 
quite as complete there as in other parts of the Highlands. Indeed, 
money was raised in these districts in aid of the general funds collected 
for the alleviation of the famine. 

In no part of the Highlands are the religious and educational wants of 
the inhabitants better provided for, nor are there fewer i)ublic-houses. 

In looking over my factorial accounts, I find that, on my Perthshire 



148 

jiroperty, I have expended, in employing the people in useful works, 
X18S,750; on Glenurchay, a part of my Argyleshire property, £19,402; 
and on the other part a similar sum in proj)ortion — in each case from the 
period of my succession down to 1852 (eighteen years). 

Having stated these facts regarding the management of my property, 
and my conduct towards those residing upon it, I fearlessly ask, am I 
justly obnoxious to the imputation of being regardless of the prosperity 
and happiness of the people upon it? Have I recklessly driven out from 
its mountains and its glens the interesting and gallant race that formerly 
resided there? — I remain, sir, your obedient servant, 

(Signed) Breadalbane. 



LETTER I. 

To the most noble the Marquis of Breadalbane. 

" My Lord, — For the last fifteen years I have been brought into imme- 
diate contact with the middle and lower orders in various parts of Scot- 
land, and during that period I have observed that the section of our 
population deriving their suj^port from land have been subjected to some 
grievances, so much so that their means of living have become pinched, 
and multitudes, who would have submitted to great privations at home, 
have nevertheless been compelled to expatriate themselves from the coun- 
try so dearly loved, or, what is worse, take shelter in the dungeons of a 
large town. For a long time it puzzled me to understand how a country 
growing in commercial prosperity must be declining in its agricultural 
population; and while the towns were doubling their residenters, and con- 
sequently demanding greater supples of food, yet all the while vast tracts 
of producing land should be thrown waste! Any enquiries that I could 
make were generally answered, that the peasantry must make way before 
the improvements of modern agriculture ; but that explanation I never 
was satisfied with, and I never was at peace until I found out what 
appeared to me to be the real cause of such great evils ; for I could not 
shut my eyes to the fact that rural depopulation and the overpeopling of 
towns stood linked together as cause and effect. As your Lordship must 
know, I traced out these evils to the Laws of Entail, which have concen- 
trated vast territories into the hand of a single individual, while they pre- 
vented peasant proprietorship, — a system that has produced magical benefits 
wherever it has been allowed to come into operation. The Game Law 
rules I also found to be a wicked instrument, seized by lairds for banishing 
the peasantry, and for desolating great tracts of land. The Laws of 
Hypothec I also found operated most injuriously against society, by unduly 
enlarging the size of farms, by giving illegitimate security to lairds for 
rents, and for increasing the price of rent to a fictitious amount. The 
abolition of these unjust laws is all the cure that I suggest, and I hesitate 
not to affirm that if their abolition were secured, a most healthful im- 
provement, both moral and physical, M'ould be apparent in Scotland, and 
that at no postponed date. 



149 

Your Lordship is aware that I brought these views under public no- 
tice in a volume entitled, " Barriers to the Prosperity of Scotland ; " at 
the same time labouring to prove that a country cannot long survive the 
loss of its peasantry, or, if it did exist, it would be — like Samson, de- 
])rived of his hair — shorn of all that was morally fair or physically good. 
I have laboured to show how the peasant at home loves his country and 
his God, but when huddled into the pestiferous alleys of a large town, 
he loses his physical strength and his religious principle ; and his family, 
which, in the cottaroon, would be brought up in thrift and in virtue, 
would, like the rest, be swept into the vortex of vice and dissipation. 

This theory of human life your Lordship has not attempted to overturn, 
neither have you denied its applicability to the present condition of 
Scotland. But you have attempted to place my statements before the 
public as being untrue, and therefore my case against the laws of Game, 
Entail, and Hypothec would fall to the ground. I must confess that I 
should have much rather been attacked in my arguments than in any 
isolated illustration thereof, because the general argument may be per- 
fectly good, albeit the particular illustration thereof may have been in- 
correct. In a former publication I had to complain of this ; for many 
Imsied themseh es with the illustration., while they overlooked entirely 
the principle it was intended to suppoi-t. 

When ilhistrating the evil effects of our feudalistic legislation, it was 
barely ]>os8ible for me to avoid pointing to certain estates where the evils 
were most apparent. But I certainly did so as seldom as possible, and I 
think in only one instance have I condescended on a personal reflection. 
Your Lordship's name is not mentioned at all, for although I state that 
Lochtayside had been cleared, I did not say bt/ whom ; and had you not 
])ublished the letter of 18th Juno, your lordship's name and cliaiacter 
might have been forgotten altogether in connection with such a deplorable 
state of matters. Pers<mally, I entertain no grudge towards your Lord- 
ship or any other laird, but on the contrary it might have been beneficial 
to nie to retain the good favour of lairds rather than to excite their ill-will. 
But the letter referred to leaves me only two courses, — either to support 
the statements of my book, or stand arraigned before the public as guilty 
of circulating untruths. Your Lordship has dragged our dispute j)romi- 
nently before tlie public ; let the ])ublic, therefore, be judge Ijetween us. 

I have good right to complain that your Lordship's contradiction of my 
statements are not brought out in a straightforward manner, but that by 
numerous shifts and fallacies you evade the facts altogether. Considering 
the high position of your Lordship, I think you might have condescen<lrd 
to have met such a humble antagonist as I am oi)enly and frankly ; ex- 
cuse me, therefore, if I now ask you to answer my statements senatiui. 

Ist. Do you «leny in general that the Highlands are being depopulated, 
and that one soldier could not now be raised for ten who fought in the lust 
war 1 Your Ijordship, I think, would hardly risk the denial of a 8tat<^- 
ment which every person in this country knows to be correct. I have 
given the public an opportunity of denying my statements ; but so far as 
1 can judge, my figures are under rather than over the mark. I can point 



150 

to a place where thirty recruits that manned the 92d in Egypt came from 
— men before whom Napoleon's Invincibles had to bite the dust, — and 
now only two families reside there altogether. I was lately informed by 
a grazier that on his farm a hundred swordsmen could be gathered at the 
country's call ; and now there is only himself and one or two shepherds. 
On his neighbour's farm fifty swordsmen formerly lived, and it is now 
much in the same condition. The Sutherland and Gordon clearings are 
known to the world, and yet the fact of Highland depopulation is stated 
as being inconsistent with truth 1 Under this head your Lordship had 
ample opportunity of contradicting my statements, but no man with any 
regard to his standing could do so. But if I am labouring under a delu- 
sion here, I am not alone, as will be seen from the following quotation: — 
" But in other and in too many instances the Highlands have been 
drained, not of their superfluity of population, but of the whole mass of 
the inhabitants, dispossessed by an unrelenting avarice, ivhich tvill be one 
day found to have been as short-sighted as it is unjust and selfish. Mean- 
time the Highlands may become the fairy ground for romance and 
poetry, or the subject of experiment for the professors of speculation, po- 
litical and economical. But if the hour of need should come, — and it may 
not perhaps be far distant, — the pibroch may sound through the deserted 
region, but the summons will remain unanswered." — Sir Walter Scott. 
Let us hear what the great continental historian, Michelet, says : — 
"The Scotch Highlanders will ere long disappear from the face of the 
earth ; the mountains are daily depopulating ; the great estates have 
mined the land of the Gaul, as they did ancient Italy. The Highlander 
will ere long exist only in the romances of Walter Scot J. The tartan 
and the claymore excite surprise in the streets of Edinburgh : they dis- 
appear — they emigrate — their national airs will ere long be lost, as the 
music of the Eolian harp when the winds are hushed." 

It is not necessary for me to say anything about the result of this de- 
population — whether it is desirable or not — for I am not at present dis- 
cussing an abstract question in political science, but the fact of that 
depopulation going on is notorious over all. In one week oiie hundred 
most industrious emigrants left the district of Athole for Canada, while 
sixty additional were preparing to remove. As the press stated, there 
is a general "move" of Highland population to Australia and Canada, 
of their own accord in many instances. , The ousted farmers from Athole 
have thriven so well in Canada, that the remaining friends are desirous 
of sharing their prosperity. Those who left Badenoch for Australia six- 
teen years ago have made fortunes rapidly, and now the people en masse 
are flitting. Bat it is not only in the Highlands this system is at work ; 
from where I write I see a farm in the occupation of a tenant who has 
ground that formerly sustained one hundred lowland Scotch families, 
and all in peace and plenty, in contentment and happiness. On hundreds 
of places might NicoU sing, — 

" Ae aukl aik tree, or may be twa, 

Amang the wavin' corn, 
Is a' the mark that time has left 
0' the toon where I was born." 



151 

I have never said that the Highlanders should he kept up as a nursery 
for soldiers ; my only position is this, do not keep up nor jmt tlieni clown. 
If they cannot work, let them shift for themselves ; but if they are beaten, 
it is time for others to look out. Although it is not necessary to keep up 
the Scottish peasantry by eleemosynary aid, yet does that argue that 
they should be oppressed as much as possible? that they should be ren- 
dered uncomfortable at home, and their crops devoured through the in- 
fluence of game laws 1 Surely not. 

I say, that "any of the peasantry remaining do not calculate that they 
can obtain a home for many years longer." Now, on Lochtayside, and 
especially at Acharn, I certainly underetood that some thirty or forty ten- 
ants looked at Whitsunday next as the time when their doom would be 
fixed. Certain ominous examinations have been seen, and whispers were 
rife that the same dose which their neighbours had been favoured with 
was in preparation for them. The besom of extermination had left no 
barrier betwixt them and being thrown upon the wide world for a home 
and the means of life. To say what your Lordship's plans are for the 
ftiture is what T cannot do; but I am perfectly correct in saying what 
is "calculated." On another Highland property, 1 was aware at the 
time my book was in the press that extensive warnings had been given 
for the small tenants to leave. I am glad, however, to say, that such 
doings have been seen in their true colours, and that if any have to leave 
that property it will be their own fault, as I learn that every reasonable 
encouragement will now be afibrded them to stay at home. The question 
was started in high quarters, — "If the people leave, who will be got to 
work the lan^* Well would it be for Breadalbane, and for our country, 
if your Lords^) would set yourself seriously to examine the same ques- 
tion. 

In reference to Glnecoe, your Lordship abruptly answers, that it does 
not, and never did belong to you. I never said that it did. I asserted 
that it is "swept" of its inhabitants, and perhaps my information is in- 
correct, but your Lordship has not condescended to state whether it is so 
or not. If, however, my language can bear any such construction as that 
your Lordship is proprietor thereof, 1 willingly withdraw any such ambi- 

uity, and confess that my language should not be e(iuivocal, although at 
• lie same tinie, I believe that the less some Campbells say about Glencoe 
the better. I have also put the Black Mount among the number of cleared 
grounds That there were numerous tenants living there was according 
to my information. In a region of territory covering some 200 or 300 
square miles of Scottish groujul, the fact is, as I have stated, viz. that it is 

swept" — not one tenant on the whole ! ! ! Your Lordship evades the 
luestion by saying, that my statement amounts to this, "that it was for- 

iierly cUmeh/ populated." I cei-tainly was unable to tell the number of 
tiimilies put away, but your Lordship might have done so, and there is 
nothing to prevent tliat heing done yet. You tell us about the reconls of 
your family; your Lordship might have spared such an allusion. It is a 
painful one to a Scotchman, and particularly to a Highlander. Tradition 
must be far wide of the truth if the early history of your family be fit for 



152 

seeing light in the nineteenth century. You tell us that the present pop- 
ulation of that district is now as great as the time to which I allude. What 
time, my Lord 1 — please explain yourself. You tell us that it is obvious 
that this land could only have been in the hands of tenants for a short 
time. I certainly understood that it never was a deer forest until made so 
by your Lordship, but I never said so. The arguments used to excuse the 
clearing system are not a little unique. Thus, the Black Mount is cleared, 
having been " but thinly peopled"; and Lochtayside is all but swept, be- 
cause it was "too densely populated." Some of your Glenquiech tenants' 
families were in possession 400 years — was that the reason they were 
" swept 1 " If not contradictory, these arguments are, at least, somewhat 
strange; thus the Fens of Lincoln have only been improved lately, — eir/a 
there would be no harm in converting them again into marshes. The 
whole cultivation of America is of comparitively recent origin, — ei'go, it 
would be no harm for a tyrant to lay it all waste ! Then, you very cooly 
tell us that your shepherds and foresters make up as great a population as 
formerly resided there. But you have forgotten to tell how many shep- 
herds you have there, and it would be naturally inferred that the Black 
Mount is as well grazed as before. Now, allow me to remind your Lord- 
ship that such an impression is very far from being borne out by the facts 
of the case, ther^ being only a veri/ small part of the Black Mount under 
sheep pasture. Then, about the foresters, you would think it no harm in 
having the whole Highlands under the dominion of that excellent and 
useful class, would you 1 Your Lordship must hold very strange doctrines 
of political science, if you estimate that game-keepers and foresters, who 
keep the country lying waste, who dissipate the national r^urces, are for 
a moment to be compared to the industrious peasant, by the^veat of whose 
brow human life is sustained, and whose laudable endeavour is to improve 
land, not to lay it waste ! The country would be vastly improved if idle 
keepers, who are a notorious pest to any district, were transformed into 
respectable and industrious tillers of the ground. Am I not correct, then, 
in saying that the Black Mount has been swept of its industrious tenants, 
and that only a few shepherds, (not, I believe, one tenth of what ought to 
be) occupy their place 1 But about the Black Mount more anon. 

We have now come to Lochtayside ; and if the peasantry be not vir- 
tually "swept" from there, I shall make all apology that maybe deemed 
meet. By a mere play upon words, your Lordship makes out that it is 
not " swept." because some tenants remain there still ; and yet in another 
place we are told it was for good to the people themselves that they were 
cleared off, and, in the same letter, it was for the pi-evention of pauperism ; 
again, at the conclusion, you triumphantly ask, " Have I recklessly driven 
out from its mountains and glens the interesting and gallant race that 
FORMERLY dwelt there 1 " 

In volunteering to correct the impression which every one has, of Loch- 
tayside being virtually cleared of its peasantry, I think if your Lordship 
could have proved that it was not cleared., this would have been easily 
done by a statement of the number of families there were in 1834 and those 
now in 1843. If my statement was not worth answering, why meddle 



153 

with it 1 If it was worth noticing why not answer it in the only manner 
it could be answered, viz., by an appeal to facts and figures ? In a passing 
allusion I think I shall be borne out if, in denouncing the clearing system, 
four out of five families are thrust out. If I had meant that it was cleared 
of ereiy inhabitant, I should certainly have said *' totally cleared ;" but I 
adopted the everyday expression used whenever Lochtayside is spoken of, 
both by strangers who see the remains of former houses, tkc, and of 
Breadalbane men themselves. But lest your Lordship's memory 
should have got rusty on this point, allow me to remind you of Mornish, 
with its twenty-two families now occupied by one ; of the Cloichran with 
eight or nine families, without a tenant at all. In Acham, near Killin, 
there were nineteen families ; how many now? if there be one tenant, 
mention his name. How many *' t^ons" have been cleared of four, ten, 
or fourteen families besides those quoted 1 Out with it my Lord ! If 
you have not been actuated by a desire to banish the people of Breadal- 
bane out of the country, prove it by facts and figures, not by roundabout 
statements entirely beside the point. It is quite true that many people 
still live there ; and if your Lordship thinks it anything to your credit 
that bothy-men now usurp the place of honest cottagers, I am willing to 
allow you all the benefit of the plea, although, at the same time, I think 
the bothy system is one of the worst that your Lordship could possibly 
l)atronise. You can take credit in the population account for the inhabi- 
tants of your Lordship's bothies at Newhall, Comrie-farm, Balmacnaugh- 
ton, Auchmore; and Acham, near Killin. 

And, lastl^^s to the fencible men. You must be aware that your late 
father raised^jkOO men the last war, and that 1,600 of that number were 
from the Breadalbane estates. My statement is, that 150 could wot now 
be raised. Your Lordship has most carefully evaded all allusion to this, — 
perhaps the worst charge of the whole. From your Lordship's silence I 
am surely justified in concluding tliat you may endeavour to evade the 
question, but you dare not attempt an open contradiction. I have often 
made enquiries of Highlanders on this point, and the number above stated 
was tlie hifjhest estimate. Many who should know, state to me tliat your 
Lordship would not ^etjifti/ followers from the whole estates ; and another 
says, — " Why, he would not get half-a-dozen, and not one of them unless 
he could not ]»ossibly do otherwi.se." This, then, is the position of the 
question : in 1793-4, there was such a numerous, hardy, and industrious 
population on the Breadalbane estates, that there could be spared of valo- 
rous defenders of their country in her hour of danger 1600 

1 1 ighest estimate now 1 50 

Banished .... ... 1450 

Per Contra. 

Game of all sorts increased a hundred fold. 

In conclusion, under this head, can you produce any thing farther in 
confutation of the statements made in my book 1 if so, let us have them. 



154 

Knowing a good many facts, I am quite prepared to substantiate all I have 
advanced. 

I am, my Lord, 

your very obedient humble servant, 
July, 1853. R. ALISTER. 



LETTER II. 

To the most noble the Marquis of Breadalhane. 

*' My Lord, — Having attempted to support the original statements 
made by me in the volume before alluded to, I am now at liberty to 
examine some of those adduced by you ; and from the manner they are 
stated, and the semi-official tone in which they are couched, some might 
believe that I had wantonly undertaken to misrepresent your Lordship. 
In my book there was not a single imputation thrown upon your Lord- 
ship's character, but the manner in which you have endeavoured to clear 
yourself of blame (not then imputed), convinced many that you had made 
a personal application of the general charges made in my book. 

In the examination which I intend to make of the facts brought for- 
ward by your Lordship, I shall confine my observations to two parts, 
viz., — \st. Destroying the resources of the country for g£u^. Ind, Ex- 
termination of the peasantry. ^^ 

In the factorial accounts to which your Lordship refers, is there any 
estimate of the territory laid virtually waste for game sports ] The next 
time your Lordship ojDenly makes reference thereto, perhaps you could 
without much trouble, favour the public by replies to tlie following 
queries : — 

How many square miles of valuable pasture are kept waste for deer 1 

How many sheep could annually be drawn from them, but for the 
deer ] 

How many thousand black catfcle could be reared, but for the same 
cause ? 

With moderate and judicious outlays in planting, open draining, ikc, 
ttc, how much extra produce could be brought into market? Would 
the increase be 5, 100, 200, or 300 per cent? Opinion differs very 
much about these figures. 

Referring again to the Black Mount, perhaps your Lordship would 
favour the public with its geographical boundaries. I have had great 
difficulty in arriving at anything like a correct estimate of the extent of 
territory laid waste. The lowest estimate of its circumference I have 
heard is fifty miles, others say sixty, and some as high as ninety miles. 
Let us assume that in its present state there are 100,000 acres of the 
most valuable pasture all but useless to the nation at present, but with 



155 

the abolition of the Game Law Rules we might guess that it could graze 
70,000 sheep. One third to one-fourth of these could be annually drawn, 
and thus twentt/ thousand sheep would be yearly brought down for sale, 
7mnus some 3,000 at present. The Clas'hgoure wedders were said to be 
the best ever seen in Glasgow market. How many does the hill pro- 
duce now 1 Besides 20,000 sheep, there might be 50,000 fleeces sold, 
in which almost nothing is done at present. 

If these statistics approximate the truth, would not such an addition 
to the supplies of food to our town population be very valuable ] Con- 
sidering the high price of meat at present, the great demand, the limited 
supply, I am sure that no more wholesome or beneficial change could 
take place in this country than would the opening up of the Highlands 
to ti-ade. The supply of black-faced sheep and of black cattle would be 
increased beyond all conception. Instead of sending to the four quarters 
of the earth for food, why not let Scotland produce all that it can ] why 
banish the industrious population when such a field of real, not repre- 
sentative, wealth (as gold is) lies inviting them only to reap it 1 

Your Tx)rdship states, that to the improvement of the countrt/ and to 
the welfare of the inhabitants you have directed your attention and your 
best thoughts. Without disputing your good intentions, allow me to ask 
you before Scotland what more could you have done, by yourself or 
your agents, to lay the country waste, — the Black Mount in particular ? 
Was it for the improvement of the country that you have kept some of 
the finest soil of Perthshire waste, — that is, the forest facing Kenmore ? 
Is it for the improvement of the country that you keep all the land round 
Drummond I^^ merely for sport at deer-stalking ? Is it for the encou- 
ragement of a^culture that the tenants are bound bf/ lease to leave the 
fields nearest the hill under grass, apparently that the game may have a 
morsel in winter ? Is it for the public good that your deer come to the 
gardens and destroy the cabbage (some of it having had to be three times 
planted this year in consequence) 1 and yet the tenants dare not scare 
them away ; if dogs are set after them they are forthwith shot ; if they 
are frightened by firearms, the tenant is forthwith ])ut off the property ! 
And yet this is all done for " the improvement of the country," or else 
** for the welfare of the inhabitants I ! " 

Whatever good has accrued from the unexampled increase of game, 
must l>e entirely placed to tlie credit of your Ivordship, for your prede- 
cessor (whose memory and good deeds aro warmly extolled by thousands) 
did not favour the increase of game. No doubt he ha<l numbers of deer, 
but they were principally in ])ark8, few or none being wild ; and no 
tenant was restricted from using his gun (except in the parks) until the 
efforts of your Lordship introduced a different regime. The late Mar- 
quis had a greater respect for his splendid and devoted peasantry than 
to harass them with gamekeepers, or destroy their crops with hares and 
pheasants. He wished them to live in the country, and therefore he 
adopted no nieasuros directly or indirectly, to force them away. There 
are, however, certain doings about game of which your Lordship must 
be ignorant, because no nobleman, professing such liberality as you do, 



156 

could be a party to such transactions. I refer to the case of a tenant at 
Acbarn, who was tempted to shoot a fallow deer, which had perhaps 
fattened on his own crops or cabbage. His servant, instead of going to 
church on Sabbath, went to inform your Lordship's keeper of the oc- 
currence ; and, if I am correctly informed, that excellent man went 
shortly after and made a search in the house. He was like to be foiled 
in the pursuit, when he took off the kail-pot, and carrying it to the door, 
found therein a piece of venison ! What a horrible disclosure ! The 
venison was forthwith carried to Bolfracks, and such a hullabaloo was- 
there ! And what was the sentence? — banishment ! Although strongly 
attached to Scotland, yet no remedy could be found for the unpardonable 
crime — off he had to go. Now it turns out this happened for the man's 
welfare, for he would hardly return to Breadalbane, although made pro- 
prietor of his former occupancy. 

How these 200 square miles, laid all but desolate, besides crops in 
fields and in gardens destroyed, tallies with your Lordship's loud profes- 
sions for agricultural improvement, is what others must explain for I 
really confess for once that I am shamefully beaten in the attempt to do so. 

I shall now trouble your Lordship with a few inquiries relative to the 
Extermination of the Peasantry. On your Nether Lome property, 
you state your belief that the population is as large as ever it was. Pre- 
vious to the overturn of the Roman empire, the towns multiplied ex- 
ceedingly, but at the same time the rural population was totally swamped. 
Would your Lordship be good enough to state whether or not the Nether 
Lome in cleared of the peascmti-i/, and the land is now tenanted by south 
coitntry farmers^ and if the population to which your Lo^hip refers is 
not that employed at Easdale slate quarries'? W 

In reference to the removals from Lochtayside, your Lordship claims 
great credit on that account, alleging that pauperism would have produced 
-'disastrous results before this." Again, you claim great credit, liecause 
there was no destitution in 1846-7.'^ Now, I most flatly deny the insinua- 
tions here thrown out upon the peasant population ; and not only so, but 
I aver that it is to clearing landlords like yourself §iat ice are indebted 
for the great abundance of jmvperisin ivi large towns \'^ The deplorable 
destitution on the west coast was in a great measure occasioned by lairds 
thrusting out the population (which they had previously done so much to 
;,'j^.:4^yelo.p), and huddling them together in fishing villages along the coast, f 
^' 3f db not remember of any peasantry in Scotland being afflicted with the 
f.'"i§Arils you name. On those parts of the Breadalbane property not yet 
cleared, did any destitution prevail % Was there any of it felt at the 
' 'densely populated neighbourhood of Acharn 1 I can point out to numer- 
ous estates, as densely populated as ever Lochtayside was, and in as un- 
favourable circumstances, and yet destitution was never dreamt of. In 
Athole, in Strathtay, Moulin, and many other places that suggest them- 
selves to me, where the holdings are almost all small, the people never 
were more prosperous than they have been since 1846. 

* Fray, how could there be pauperism when the people were banished ? 
+ See ** Theory of Human Progression," page 322^ and also Parliamentary Re- 
port of 24th May 1841. 



157 

Your Lordship takes it for granted that any visitor must see a vast im- 
provement in Lochtayside, dating from 1 734, — a statement which demands 
proof ; for I am informed on the most unquestionable authority, that 
there is now less produced to clothe and feed the human race on Loclitay- 
side than there was twenty years ago ; and I fully believe it. Instead of 
the improvements on the Breadalbane estates keeping up with the times, 
I am strongly convinced that they have retrograded rather than advanced 
since your Lordship's succession. 

The former condition of the peasantry seems to have drawn fortli an un- 
merited sneer. In reply to numerous inquiries, the answers all concur in 
representing the peaceful dwellers by the lake-side as peculiarly social. 
They lived without guile ; they assisted each other in every respect, and 
nothing but harmony and good feeling prevailed ; and certainly, if such 
were the case, it would form a pleasing contrast to the bitterness, rancour, 
and ill-feeling that is elsewhere displayed. We are also told that ** the 
physical condition was unfavourably affected." Now, of all places in 
Europe, I certainly understood that physical strength was nowhere better 
developed than in the Highlands of Scotland. In Lochtayside I have seen 
some very powerful, hardy, well-knit men. In particular, the most her- 
culean figure that I ever remember to have seen was one of the individuals 
from a croft on the lake-side ! Although your Lordship has chosen to 
blacken the Highland peasantry to justify your own doings, yet I shall 
<asily get many who are of a different opinion. The following is the testi- 
mony of a Breadalbane man ; — •' In my young days the people lived 
happy* and sociably, as well as being healthy and comfortable. There 
was plenty of animal food, and abundance of milk. There were few or 
no paupers ; f# when a man was worn out he got a cow's, haddin, which 
the neighbours ploughed, sowed, and reaped. Thus ho was kept off the 
poor's box, — a calamity they were dreadfully afraid of." 

Your Lordship congratulates yourself for the great efforts made for the 
religious and educational wants being supplied better than in any other 
I)art of the Highlands. Now, it is unfortunate that these laudible efforts 
are so little known, and the example of such excellent endeavours thereby 

* I am quite alive to the fact, that nothing is more common among certain 
\voul(l-he-wi8e theorist than to sneer at the phase of liuman life here allude^ to. ^ ,. 
Nicoll, on the other hand, is perhaps too severe in its favour : — ^*\ _ ^< ^ 

"We saw the com and haud the plough, — ^ |r^ v V 

We a' work for our living ; ^. '^to^^^k t«. 

We gather nought hut what we've sawn, ^ >.-.•--'' "' 

A' else we reckon thieving. <J'll»!/H ••• 

And for the loon wha fears to say q^' 

Ho comes o' lowly sum' folk, 
A wizened saul the creature has, — 

Disown him will the puir folk ! " 

Those who scoff at peasant life are often those who hold the ludicrous idea that a 
man's life consist in the things of which he is jHnsetsed ! To such we say, in the 
words of the poet, "Let not ambition mock their humble toil ; " for beyond all con- 
troversy the peasantry were possessed of a rare gem, —contentment ; that which 
Holy Writ hath pronounced to b6 better than riches ! 



158 

lost. As for the educational superiority, I may safely state that the aver- 
age amount of education, on the best part of the Breadalbane estates, does 
not nearly ajiproximate to that of Logierait in your own neighbourhood. 

In my work I have endeavoured to show that religion takes a much 
firmer hold in the cotter toons than in the Gallowgates and Cannongates 
of our large towns, and I adduced Burn's description of a "Cotter's Satur- 
day Night" in proof of my position. I fear that the transforming of 
honest cottagers into hothy blackguards has not a salutary effect ; and if 
your Lordship desires the religious and social amelioration of the Scottish 
peasantry, I would strongly advise you to abandon the bothy system in the 
farms wrought by yourself, and lend a helping hand to put down the 
system in Scotland generally. Nicoll's description of an evening in a 
Scottish cottage would not answer for bothies generally : — 

" And when the supper-time was o'er, 

The Beuk was taen as it shoukl be, 
And heaven had its trysted hour 

Aneath that sooty auld roof -tree. " 

It is quite possible that the population on both sides of the lake might 
have been too great, but then there was ample room for expanding. In 
Breadalbane there was no trade, although I believe there is abundant 
room for a considerable local business. Look at Athole for instance, which 
has not greater facilities, and yet many branches of commerce are developed 
there. I could point out from personal experience how this could be ac- 
complished, but it is not wanted, — it would keep too many people in the 
country, the very rock which is of all others to be avoided. It consists, 
with my knowledge, that when the Breadalbane farms ^re small, the 
rents were paid up to the last farthing, and testimony to this effect will 
not be wanting if called for. Since the farms have been made large, have 
the rents been equally well paid ? But who caused the population to ex- 
pand on Lochtayside ] Was it not your noble father ? Did he not cram 
in the men who returned from the fencible regiments 1 This method of 
cutting and carving up human families, — the father increasing, and the 
son sweeping away, — is what, in my humble opinion, demands investiga- 
tion. Human beings have acute feelings, and they should not be removed 
hither and thither to accomodate the caprice of an ill-disposed laird. I 
shall not inquire about the original rights of the property of the Campbell 
clan, — I shall not ask whether or not the men whose swords acquired the 
property had no right to any part of the acquired territory, — I shall not 
ask whether or not, at a recent date, the clansmen did exercise their rights, 
and caused their castle to be built where it now stands, yes, after the foun- 
dations of another had been raised ground high. All that I beseech and 
pray for, on behalf of the peasantry is, that they may be allowed to live in 
Scotland, and that they may be allowed to cultivate the land, paying full 
rent for their possessions, and that they shall not be harassed by a wicked 
law, such as the one that protects game. Do I ask, or rather demand, 
anything but what all would openly admit was bare justice and no favour *? 

Your Lordship states that in reality there has been no depopulation of 



159 

the district. This, and other parts of your Lordship's letter -would cer- 
tainly lead any ^vho know nothing of the facts to suppose that there had 
been no clearings on the Breadalbane estates ; whereas it is generally be- 
lieved that your Lordship removed, since 1834, no less than 500 families ! ! 
Some may think this a small matter ; but I do not. I think it is a great 
calamity for a family to be thrown destitute of the means of life, without 
a roof over their heads, and cast upon the wide sea of an unfeeling world. 
In Glenqueich, near Amulree, some sixty families formerly lived, where 
there are now only four or five ; and in America there is a glen inhabited 
by its ousted tenants, and called Glenqueich still. Yet forsooth, it is main- 
tained there has been no depopulation here !* The desolations here look 
like the ruins of Irish cabins, although the population of Glenqueich were 
always characterized as being remarkably thrifty, economical and wealthy. 
On the braes of Taymouth, at the back of Drummond Hill, and at Tul- 
lochyoule, some forty or fifty families formerly resided where there is not 
one now ! Glenorchy, by the returns of 1831, showed a population of 
1806 ; in 1841, 831 ; — is there no depopulation there 1 Is it true that in 
Glenetive there were sixteen tenants a year or two ago, where there is not 
a single one now t Is it true, my Lord, that you purchased an island on 
the west coast, called Luing, where some twenty-five families lived at the 
beginfiing of this year, but who arc now cleared oft' to make room for one 
tenant, for whom an extensive steading is now being erected ? If my in- 
formation be correct, I shall allow the ])ublic to draw their own conclu- 
sions ; but, from every thing that I have heard, I believe that your 
Lordship has done more to exterminate the Scottish peasantry than any 
man now living ; and perhaps you ought to be ranked next to the Marquis 
of Staflbrd in- the unenviable clearing celebrities. If I have over-estimated 
the clearances at 500 families, please to correct me. 

Now, my Lord, I did not say how these cleJarances were affected. I 
have been told they have been gone about in a covert and most insidious 
manner, and that a mock ceremony has been gone through of oft'ering the 
people houses; but where are there houses in Breadalbane to give them 1 
I never heard of any unoccupied cottages — pray, where are they 1 I am 
credibly informed that many have been oftered places unfit for pigs ; and 
'some-have got the share of a house, but from which they were shortly 
driven out, on the shadow of a pretext. Bnt granting that they got 
houses, what could the people do ] could they live on the tvind ? I am 
aware that your Lordship does give considerable employment to work- 
peoj)le ; but what kind of wages do the regular workers get ? They travel 
some three, four, or five miles to and from work daily, and the scanty pit- 
tance they obtain is Is. 2d. per diem in winter, and Is. 4d. in summer. 
By the time an aV>le-bodied man pays house-rent out of that sum, and 
keeps a family, he cannot hoard much money in the banks. That the 
condition of such jMJOple is greatly ameliorated by depriving them of their 



* A atranger, passing through the glen, inquired what had become of the people 
whose houses Uy in ruins, and a man, apparently weak in iutellcct, replied, " They 
are out of my sight, and I know not where they have gone ! " 



160 

small holdings is what might be disputed. If they were not comfortable 
then, it is at least evident they are not in the Garden of Eden now. 

Your Lordship states that upwards of £208,000 have been expended 
on " useful works." Of course, a large amount thereof has been recorded 
against the future heirs of entail. But how much of this large sum has 
been expended in a manner that will yield any benefit to the country f 
(for money expended for the gratification of caprice might be as well 
thrown into Loch Tay.) I am informed that the proportion is miserably 
small ; but how much is it? Let it be known to a penny, so that your 
Lordship may have full justice rendered you. I may safely say that the 
peasantry have had very little of it appropriated for the improvement of 
their holdings. But after such a display of figures, you say, "I fearlessly 
ask, am I obnoxious to the imputation of being regardless of the prosperity 
of the people upon the property .?" That you have been blamed for being 
utterly regardless of the people, is what 1 have often heard, and that you 
cared not a farthing what became of them, if they are got quickly out of 
sight ; and all my informants agree to the same assertion (some of them 
using stronger language.)* But I am bound to admit that one of your 
factors is blamed for much of the mischief that has been done. If, as it 
is alleged, he boasted that he could get a south country farmer to rent 
the whole ground between Drummond Hill and Killin, it did certainly 
reveal no kindly feeling toward numerous families residing there. 

You conclude your famous letter by asking, "Have I recklessly driven 
out from its mountains and glens the interesting and gallant race that 
formerly resided there f I can prove that the "interesting and gallant 
race" rather increased than diminished under your father's management. 
Who, then has driven them out 1 I know of no one wlio could but 
your Lordship or your agents. 

But I cannot finish this long letter, without paying a tribute to the 
memory of the late Marquis of Breadalbane. He was beloved by a 
numerous and attached tenantry, and it may be some consolation to his 
descendants to know that his memory is yet respected in Breadalbane. 
Instead of being feared by his servants, he was greatly esteemed by all of 
them. Instead of making loud professions abroad and acting the tyrant 
at home, his practice always stood higher than his professions of liberality. 
The poor blessed him in the gate, and well might they deplore his depar- 
ture; and yet he had always plenty himself; he was no niggard, but 
dispensed a bounteous Highland hospitality ; yet he left his estates free 
of debt, besides leaving nearly half a million sterling to his heirs ! 

I have shortly alluded to the past and present on the Breadalbane 
estates, but what shall be said of the future '] Hope, that always expects 
the best, whispers that present evils may come to an end; and, if report 
speaks correctly, promises to that effect may yet be realised. The tenure 
of entailed estates makes the possessor only a life-renter on them ; and in 

* Thus, a party, well-known on the Lakeside, is reported to have addressed a 
certain Marquis, " Ay, my Lord, and you're to put me out ! are ye ? But if I 
was a pheasant cock or a pointer dog, / loould get a house, and meat too." 



161 

the course of nature, the Breadalbane estates must some time pass into 
the possession of others, wlio, it is hoped, will act more kindly to the 
people remaining than your Lordship has done. But it is hoped that they 
will remain as long in the hands of the present possessor as will enable 
him to make some reparation for the unexampled blundera he has com- 
mitted. 

I could have brought forward many more facts to prove that the system- 
atic extermination of the peasantry, that is being carried on all over 
Scotland, is particularly felt on the Breadalbane estates ; but whether 
pauperism and other claimant evils are occasioned thereby is what the pub- 
lic can determine ; but they will widely differ from me if they do not 
believe that the Gothic or feudalistic legislation that fosters such enormi- 
ties is a great obstruction to our prosperity and happiness as a nation. 
I am, my Lord, your Lordship's very humble servant, 

R. ALISTER. 

July, 1853. 

P.S. — On same future occasion I may trouble your Lordship -with 
some inquiries about the benefits conferred upon the Highlands by 
ABSENTEEISM, and ask some questions about the legality of deer forests, 
which, I believe, cause an annual loss to Scotland of 100,000 sheep, and 
10,000 black cattle. T believe they occupy 800 square miles of Scottish 
territory. Why we should spend so much money and spill so much blood 
in Africa for the protection of grazings there, while such tracts of count 17 
in Scotland are locked up from industry, and all but laid desolate 1 



To trace the scenes of desolation, and the extreme poverty occasioned 
by the clearing system, in the West Highlands, is more than can be 
expected in this work. This was done by abler men than me, viz., Mr. 
Robert Summers, Editor of the Glasgow Daily Mail^ and Mr. Donald 
Ross, Writer, Glasgow, gentlemen to whom the Highlanders are much 
indebted for their disinterested advocacy in behalf of the poor, and their 
disclosure of the cruelty and ungodly conduct of proprietors. But before 
leaving Perthshire, permit me to make some few remarks upon his Grace 
of Atholl. The Duke of Atholl, can, with propriety, claim the origin of 
Highland clearances. Whatever merit the family of Sutherland and 
Stafford may take to themselves, for the fire and faggot expulsion of the 
people from the Glens of Sutfierland, they cannot claim the merit of 
originality. The present Duke of Atholl's Grandfather cleared Glen 
Tilt, (so far as I can learn) in 1784. This beautiful valley was occupied 
in the same way as other Highland valleys; each family possessing a piece 
of arable land, while the hill-pasture was held in common. Tlie people 
held a right and full liberty to fish in the Tilt, an excellent salmon river, 
and the pleasure and profits of the chase, in common with their chief ; 
but the then Duke accpiired a great taste for deer. The people were for 
time immemorial accustoniod to take their cattle in the summer seasons to 



162 

a higher glen, which is watered by the River Tarfe ; but the Duke 

appointed this Glen Tarfe for a deer forest, and built a high dyke at the 

head of Glen Tilt. The people submitted to this encroachment on their 

rights. The deer increased, and did not pay much regard to the march, 

they would jump over the dyke, and destroy the people's crops ; the 

people complained, and His Grace rejoiced : and to gratify the roving 

propensities of these light-footed animals, he added another splice of some 

thousand acres of the people's land to the grazing grounds of his favorite 

deer. Gradually the deer forest extended, and the marks of cultivation 

were effaced, till the last of the brave Glen Tilt men, who fought and often 

confronted and defeated the enemies of Scotland and her Kings upon 

many a bloody battle field, were routed ofi'and bade a final farewell to the 

beautiful Glen Tilt, which they and their forefathers for ages considered 

their own healthy sweet home. An event occurred at this period, 

according to history, which afibrded a pretext to the [villain) Duke for 

this heartless extirpation of the aborigines of Glen Tilt. Highland 

Chieftains were exhibiting their patriotism by raising regiments to serve 

in the American war ; and the Duke of Atholl could not be indifierent in 

such a cause. Great efibrts were made to enlist the Glen Tilt people, who 

are still remembered in the district as a strong athletic race. Perpetual 

possession of their lands, at the then existing rents, was promised them, 

if'they would only raise a contingent force equal to a man from each family. 

Some consented, but the majority, with a praiseworthy resolution not to 

be dragged at the tail of a Chief into a war of which they knew neither 

the beginning nor the end, refused. The Duke flew into a rage ; and 

press-gangs were sent up the Glen to carry off" the young men by force. 

One of these companies seized a cripple tailor, who lived at the foot of 

Beney-gloe, and afraid lest he might carry intelligence of their approach 

up the Glen, they bound him hand and foot, and left liim lying on the 

cold hill-side, where he contracted disease, from which he never recovered. 

By impressment and violence the regiment was at length raised ; and 

when peace was proclaimed, instead of restoring the soldiers to their 

friends and their homes, the Duke, as if he had been a trafficker in slaves, 

was only prevented from selling them to the East India Company by the 

rising mutiny of the regiment ! He afterwards pretended great offence 

at the Glen Tilt people, for their obstinacy in refusing to enlist, and — it 

may now be added — to he sold; and their conduct in this affair, was 

given out as the reason why he cleared them from the glen — an excuse 

which, in the present day, may increase our admiration of the people, but 

ean never palliate the heartlessness of his conduct. His ireful policy, 

however has taken full effect. The romantic Glen Tilt, with its fertile 

holmes and verdant steeps, is little better than a desert. The very deer 

rarely visit it, and the wasted grass is burned like heather at the beginning 

of the year, to make room for the new verdure. On the spot where I 

found the grass most luxuriant, I traced the seats of thirty cottages, and 

have no hesitation in saying, that under the skill, the industrious habits, 

and the agricultural facilities of the present day, the land once occupied 

by the tenants of Glen Tilt, is capable of maintaining a thousand people, 



163 

and leave a large proportion of sheep and cattle for exportation besides. 
In the meantime, it serves no better purpose than the occasional play- 
jround of a Duke. 

" Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began, 

A mij^hty hunter — and his prey was man. 

Our haughty Norman boasts the barbarous name, 

And makes his trembling slaves the ro3'^al game. 

The fields are ravished from industrious swains, 

From men their cities, and from gods their fanes. 

In vain "kind seasons swell the teeming grain, 

Soft showers distill'd, aixd suns grow warm in vain; 

'J'he swain, w ith tears, his frustrate labours yields, 

And, famish'd dies amidst the ripening fields. 

What wonder then a beast or subject slain, 

Were equal crimes in a despotic reign? 

Both, doomed alike, for sportive tyrants bled ; 

But, while the subject starved, the beast was fed." — Pope. 

The Parish of Atholl was at one period a gigantic parish; it is traversed, 
from end to end by the Great Northern Road, from Perth through the 
Grampian Hills to Inverness, formerly a favorite resort for tourists 
nnually — the natural attraction of the place being so widely known for 
its romantic scenery. The famous Pass of Killicrankie, ushers you from 
the south to the Plains of Atholl, a beautiful level strip of land stretching 
along the north bank of the River Garry, about three and a half miles 
long, and about two miles broad. Here stands Blair Castle, the Duke's 
seat, whose parks and pleasure grounds takes up three-fourths of the whole 
plain. The whole industry of this once populous parish, is compressed 
into the remainder one-fourth. This busy little plain is the terminus of 
half a dozen of other great glens, which shoot amongst the Grampians. 
The renowned Glen Tilt stretches easterly, Glen Bruan northward, and 
Glen Garry westward. These Glens are intersected by smaller valleys, 
presenting varieties of aspects, from the most fertile carses to the bleak 
moorland. But man durst not be seen there. The image of God is 
forbidden to travel there, unless it is stamped upon the Duke, his foresters, 
and game-keepers, that His Grace's deer may not be annoyed. In 1800, 
the population of this parish was given in at 2,998; in 1841, the popula- 
tion was given in at 2,304, shewing a decrease of 694. But those better 
acquainted in the parish, say that the population does not exceed 1,800. 
For all these highland depopulators manage to keep up a false population to 
screen them from the infamy they so well merited. 

"Wealth increases, and men decay." 

Long since these valliant men of Atholl have been expelled from the 
Grampian Nursery. Still new forests for deer are springing up from east 
to west; from the neighl>ourhood of Alierdeen to the crags of Oban, you 
have one continuous line of forests. In other parts of the highlands they 
can scarcely be numbered. Such as the Forest of Loch Archaig, Glen 
Morison, Glen Strathfarar, Dinibh Moor, (Sutherlandshiix^) ; and many 
more unpronounceable names, which would only weary the leader. In 
short, whether the old Forests of King Fergus and Ceanmore were revived, 



164 

or new regions are brought within the mystic circle for the first time^ 
the same devastation precedes the completion of the enterprise ; houses, 
roads, enclosures, cattle, men, every work of time and progress, the 
valuable creation of labour, and changes of centuries, are all extirpated by 
the word of a mortal insignificant worm of the eairth, in order that deer, 
blackcock, and other sporting animals, more valuable than, men, may 
enjoy the pleasing solitude ; and that aristocratic sportmen may monopo- 
lise the pleasure and benefits of the chase. Yes my highland Scotch 
readers, but Britain is now in need of men to fight her battles, to subdue 
her rebellious subjects or slaved in India, to invade and conquer China, to- 
keep at bay Russia, Persia, and many other formidable enemies. Cringing 
and making alliance with perjured Napoleon and France, who cannot but 
remember, and will remember, Waterloo, and who would rejoice to see her 
glory departed, and her humbled in the dust. Look at her squandering her 
money away, hiring German paltroons to fight her battles. Pawning her 
revenues with Jews, to raise money to pay them, while her own nursery 
of the brave, irresistable in the battle field, who always fought for glory 
and honour, not for her shilling per day ; who at all times, and especially 
in need, increased her army and navy with men by the thousands worthy 
of the name — not with hired foreign cowards, who in most cases, da 
more harm than good — but with men who were never known to turn their 
back to an enemy, but when prudence and good discipline required it. 
Yes I say this nursery is converted into a howling desert, to afford amuse- 
ment and sporting ground for a number of these aristocratic locusts, who 
were, and will continue to be, the desolating curse of every land and 
nation they are allowed to breed in. This Royal Caledonian Forest they 
destroyed by fire ; the oaks and cedars of this Lebanon have been hewn 
down and up-rooted. They are (to my joy) taking firm root and spreading 
fast in foreign climes. But the question is, has Britain or their mother, 
any claim upon their sympathy or assistance wherever they (her children) 
are to be found. Let me not say no, though she deserved it — I say yes. 
However cruel she dealt with us, slie is still our mother ; and bad and 
short-sighted as she acted, she is still, I hope, open to conviction ; and 
this is the time to convince her of her folly, when she is under the unerring 
chastising liocl of God, when her sins have found her out. And every true 
Scotchmen should exert himself, wherever he is, to persuade her of her 
past folly, and help on her conviction and conversion. She has hearkened 
to sound reasoning in many instances this some years back ; and it is to 
be hoped her Rulers will do so yet ; and that the Highlands of Scotland will 
be re-peopled, and flourish as in the days of yore. The people have only 
to demand it in earnest, and it will be done ; whereas in other nations the 
people's demands are answered by the cannon. Let no Scotchman, High- 
land or Lowlander, wish to see their mother trampled down by Mahomedans, 
Pagans, Idolators, and Despots, who erased liberty and freedom from their 
vocabularies, and even the very word is not found in their nations. 

But I am sorry that through evil agency and maladministration of 
Highland proprietors, sympathy for Britain in her late and present trouble 
disappeared in the Highlands of Scotland ; a proof of it is to be seen in 
the following letter which I received shortly after leaving Scotland : 



166 

IMy correspondent says : " MacLeod, your predictions are making their 
appearance at last, great demand are here for men to go to Russia, but 
they are not to he found. It seems that the Secretary of War has corres- 
ponded with all oui- Highland Proprietors, to raise as many men as they 
could for the Crimean War, and ordered so many officers of i*ank to the 
Highlands to assist the proprietoi-s in doing so — but it has been a complete 
failure as yet. The nobles advertised by placards, meetings of thft people; 
these j)roclamation8 were attended to, but when they came to understand 
what they were about, in most cases the recruiting proprietors and staff 
were saluted with the ominous cry of Maa ! maa! boo ! boo! imitating 
sheep and bullocks, and, send your deer, your roes, your rams, dogs, shep- 
herds, and gamekeepers, to fight the Russians, they never done us any 
harm. The success of his Grace the Duke of Sutherland was deplorable,. 
I believe you would have pitied the poor old man had you seen him. 

In my last letter I told you that his head commissioner, Mr. Loch, and 
military officer, was in Sutherland for the last six weeks, and failed 
in getting one man to enlist ; on getting this doleful tidings the Duke 
himself left London for Sutherland, he arrived at Dunrobin about ten 
days ago, and after presenting himself upon the streets of Golspie and 
Brora, he called a meeting of the male inhabitants of the parishes of Clyne, 
Rogart, and Golspie; the meeting was well attended, upwards of 400 were 
punctual at the hour, his Grace in his carriage with his military staff and 
factors appeared shortly after, the people gave them a hearty cheer; his 
Grace took the chair. Three or four clerks took their seats at the table, 
and loosened down bulky packages of bank notes, and spread out plate- 
fulls of glittering gold. The Duke addressed the people very serious, and 
entered upon the necessity of going to war with Russia, and the danger 
of allowing the Czar to have more power than what he holds already, 
of his cruel despotic reign in Ru.ssia, tkc, likewi.se praising the Queen and 
her government, rulers and nobles of Great Britain, who stood so much in 
need of men to put and keep down the Tymnt Russia, and foil him in his 
wicked schemes to take possession of Turkey. In concluding his address, 
which was often cheered, he told the young able-bodied men that his clerks 
ere ready to take down the names of all those willing to enlist, and every 
une who would enlist in the l)3icl Highlanders that the clerk would give 
him, there and then, £6 sterling, those who would rather enter any 
other corps would get £3, all from his own private purse, independent of 
the government bounty ; after advancing many silly flattering decoy ments, 
he sat down to see the result, but there was no movementamongthe people; 
after sitting for a long time looking at the clerks, and them at him, at last 
his anxious looks at the people a^isumed a somewhat indignant appeamnce, 
when he suddenly rose up and asked what was the cause of their nou-at- 
tention to the proposals he made, but no reply ; it was the silence of the 
grave — still standing, his Grace suddenly asked the cause ; but no 
reply ; at last an old man leaning upon his staff, was observed moving 
towards the Duke, and when he approached near enough, he addressed his 
Grace something like as follows: 'I am sorry for the re8|K>ii8e your 
Gi-ace's proposals are meeting here to-<lay, so near the spot where your 



166 

maternal mother, by giving forty-eight hours notice, marshalled fifteen 
hundred men, to pick out of them the nine hundred she required, but 
there is a cause for it, and a grievous cause, and as your Grace demands 
to know it I must tell you, as I see none else are inclined in this assembly 
to do it. Your Grace's mother and predecessors applied to our fathers for 
men upon former occasions, and our fathers responded to their call, they 
have made liberal promises which neither them nor you performed ; we are, 
we think, a little wiser than our fathers, and we estimate your promises of 
to-day at the value of theirs, besides you should bear in mind that your 
predecessors and yourself expelled us in a most cruel and unjust manner 
from the land which our fathers held in lien from your family for theiV 
sons, brothers, cousins, and relations, which was handed over to your parents 
to keep up their dignity, and to kill the Americans, Turks, French, and the 
Irish ; and these lands are devoted now to rear dumb brute animals, which 
you and your parents consider of far more value than men. I do assure 
your Grace that it is the prevailing opinion in this country, that should 
the Czar of Kussia take possession of Dunrobin Castle and of Stafford 
House next term, that we could not expect worse treatment at his hands 
than we have experienced at the hands of your family for the last fifty 
years. Your parents, yourself, and your commissioners, have desolated 
the glens and straths of Sutherland, where you should find hundreds, yea, 
thousands of men to meet you and respond cheerfully to your call, had 
your parents and yourself kept faith with them. How could your Grace 
expect to find men where they are not, and the few of them which are to 
be found among the rubbish or ruins of the country, have more sense than 
to be decoyed by chaff to the field of slaughter ; but one comfort you have, 
though you cannot find men to fight, you can supply those who will tight 
with plenty of mutton, beef, and venison.' The Buke rose up, put on his 
hat and left the field." 

Whether my correspondent added to the old man's reply to his Grace 
or not, I cannot say, one thing evident, it was the very reply his Grace 
deserved. 

I know for a certainty this to be the prevailing opinion throughout the 
whole Highlands of Scotland, and who should wonder at it ? How many 
thousands of them who served out their 21, 22, 25, and 26 years, fighting 
for the British aristocracy, and on their return, wounded, maimed, or 
worn out, to their own country, promising themselves to spend the remain- 
der of their days in peace, and enjoying the blessings and comfort their 
fathers -enjoyed among their healthy Highland delightful hills, but found 
to their grief their parents were expelled from the country to make room 
for sheep, deer, and game, the glens where they were born desolate, and 
the abodes which sheltered them at birth and where they were reared to 
manhood, burnt to the ground ; and instead of meeting the cheer, shaking- 
hands, hospitality and affections of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and 
relations, met with with a desolated glen, bleating of sheep, barking of dogs,, 
and if they should happen to rest their worn-out frame upon the green sod 
which has grown upon their father's hearth, and a game-keeper, a factor, 
or water bailiff to come round, he would very unceremoniously tell them 



1G7 

to absent themselves as smart as they could, and not annoy the deer. No 
race we have on record has suffered so much at the hands of those who 
should be their patrons, and proved to be so tenacious of i)atriotism as the 
Celtic race, but I assure you it has found its level now, and will disappear 
altogether soon, and as soon as patriotism will disappear in any nation, so 
sure that nation's glory is tarnished, victories uncertain, and her greatness 
diminished, and decaying consumptive death will be the result. If ever 
the old adage, which says, *' Those whom the Gods determine to destroy, 
they first deprive them of reason," was verified, it was, and is, in the case 
of British aristocracy, and Highland proprietors in particular. I am not 
so void of feeling as to blame the Duke of Sutherland, his parents or any 
other Highland absentee proprietor for all the evil done in the land, but 
the evil was done in their name and under the authority they have invested 
in wicked cruel servants. For instance, the only silly man who enlisted 
from among tlie great assembly his Grace addressed, was a married man 
with three of a family and his wife; it was genei*ally belie vl&d that Ins bread 
was baked for life, but no sooner was he away to Fort George to join his 
regiment than his place of abode was pulled down, and his wife and te^ily 
turned out, and only permitted to live in a hut, from whicli an old Kniale 
pauper was carried a few days before to the church-yard;' there the young 
family were sheltered, and their names registered uponj^irf^ pot>r roll for 
support; his Grace could not be guilty of such low.^toamy as this, yet he 
was told of it, but took no cognizance of those who did it in his name. It 
is likewise said tliat this man got a furlough of two we^ji, tcTsee his wife 
and family before going abroad, and that the factor hejffd he was coming 
and ordered the ground officer of the parish of Ep^rt, of the name of 
M*Leod, to watch the soldier, and not allow him ro see nor speak to his 
wife, but in his, the officer's pre.sence. This was cruelty to prevent the 
l)Oor fellow who was three months absent from his wife, and could not be 
allowed to kiss, or have one night's pleasure with herbefore he would embark 
for the Crimea, but in presence of an officer. None could think his Grace 
to be 80 devoid of natural feelings, yet it was done in his name. The 
factor alleged as an (!xcuse for it, that lie did not want the parish of 
Uogart to be burdened with any more children to keep up. Economf/f 
ICcoHomj/I! We have then in the same parish an old bachelor of the 
name of John Macdonald, who had three idiot sisters, whom^he ui)held 
independent of any source of relief, but a favorite of George, the notorious 
factor, envied this poor bachelor's farm, and he was summoned to remove 
at next term. The poor fellow petitioned his Grace, and Loch, but to no 
purpose, he was doomed to walk away, on the term day as the factor 
told him, "to America, Glasgow, or to the devil if he choosed." Seeing 
he bad no other alternative, two days before the day of his removal he 
yoked his cart, and got neighbours to help him to haul the three idiots into 
it, and drove away with them to Dunrobin Castle; when lie came up to 
factor Gunn's door hc^ capsized them out upon the green, and ^'heeled 
about and went away home, the three idiots finding themselves upon the top 
of one another so sudden, they raised an inhuman-like yell, and fixed into 
one another to fight, and scratched, yelled, and screeched so terrific tliat 



168 

Mr. Gunn, his lady, his daughters, and all the clerks and servants, were 
soon about them, but they hearkened to no reason, for the}^ had none them- 
selves, but continued their lighting and inharmonious music; messenger 
after messenger was sent after John, but of no use; at last tlie great Gunn 
himself followed and overtook him, asked him how did he come to leave 
his sisters in such a state? He replied. " I kept them while I had a piece 
of land to support them, you have taken that land from me, then take 
them along with the land, and make of them what you can, I must look 
out for myself, but I cannot carry them to the labour market." Gunn 
was in a fix, and had to give John assurance that he would not be removed 
if he would take his sisters, so John took them home, and has not been 
molested as yet. 

I have here beside me a respectable girl of the name of Ann jNIurray, 
whose father was removed during the time of the wholesale /^vr/yo^ removal 
but got a lot of a barren moor to cultivate ; however barren like it was, he 
was raising a family of industrious young sons, and by dint of hard labour 
and perseverence, they made it a comfortable home, but th^young sons 
one by one left the country, (and four of them are within two miles of 
where I sit), the result was, that Ann was the only one who remained 
with the parents. The mother who had an attack of palsy, was left 
entirely under Ann's care after the family left; and she took it so much to 
heart that her daughter's attention was required day and night, until 
death put an end tA her afflictions, after twelve years' suffering. Shortly 
after the mother's death, the father took ill, and was confined to bed for 
nine months ; and Ann's labour re-commenced until his decease. Though 
Ann Murray could be 'numbered among the most dutiful of daughters 
yet her incessant labour for a period of more than thirteen years, made 
visible inroads upon her tender constitution; yet by the liberal assistance 
of her brothers, who did not lose sight of her and their parent, (though 
upon a foreign strand) Ann Murray kept the farm in the best of order, 
no doubt expecting that she would be allowed to keep it after her parent's 
decease ; but this was not in store for her, the very day after her father's 
funeral, the officer came to her, and told her that she was to be removed 
in a few weeks, that the farm was let to another, and that Factor Gunn 
wished to see her. She was at that time afflicted with jaundice, and told 
the officer that she could not undertake the journey, which was only ten 
miles. Next day the officer was at her again, more urgent than before, and 
made use of extraordinary threats ; so she had to go. When she appeared 
before this Bashaw, he swore like a trooper, and damned her soul, why 
she disobeyed his first summons; she excused herself trembling, that she 
was unwell; another volley of oaths and threats met her response, and told 
her to remove herself from the estate next week, for her conduct ; and 
with a threat, which well becomes a Highland tyrant, not to take away nor 
sell a single article of furniture, implements of husbandry, cattle, or crop; 
nothing was allowed but her own body clothes: that every thing was to be 
handed over to her brother, who was to have the farm. Seeing there was 
neither mercy nor justice for her, she told him the crop, house, and every 
other thing belonging to the farm, belonged to her and brothers in 



169 

America, and that the brother to whom he (the factor) intended to hand 
over the farm and effects, never lielped her father or motlier while in 
trouble ; and that she was determined that he should not enjoy what she 
laboured for, and what her other brother's money paid for. She went and 
got the advice of a man of business, advertised a sale, and sold off in the 
face of tlneats of interdict, and came to Canada, where she was warmly 
received by brothers, sistei*s, and friends, now in Woodstock, and can tell 
her tale better than I can. No one could think nor believe that his 
Grace would even countenance such doings as these • but it was done in 
his name. 

I have here within ten miles of me, Mr. William Ross, once Taxman of 
Achtomeleeny, Sutherlandshire, who occupied the most convenient farm 
to the principal deer-stalking hills in the county. Often have the English 
and Irish lords, connected in marriage with the Sutherlands, dined and took 
their lunch at William Ross' table, and at his expense ; and more than 
once passed the night under his roof. Mr. Ross being so well acquainted 
iimongthe mountainsand hauntsofthedeer,wasoften engaged asaguide and 
instructor to'these noblemen, on their deer-stalking and fishing excursions, 
and became a real favorite with the Sutherland family, which enabled him, 
to erect superior buildings to the common rule, and improve his farm in a 
superior style ; so that his mountain-side farm was nothing short of a 
Highland paradise. But unfortunately for William, his nearest neighbour, 
one Major Gilchrist, a sheep farmer, (Ahah) coveted Mr. Ross's vine- 
yard, and tried many underhand schemes to secure the place for himself, 
but in vain. Ross would hearken to none of his proposals. But Ahab 
was a chief friend of Factor Gunn ; and William Ross got notice of 
removal. Ross prepared a Memorial to the first and late Duchess of 
Sutherland, and placed it in her own hand. Her Grace read it, and 
instantly went in to the Factor's office, and told him that William Ross 
was not to be removed from Achtomeleeny while he lived ; and wrote the 
same on the petition, and handed it back to Ross, with a graceful smile, 
saying, "you are now out of the reach of Factors; now, William, go home 
in peace." William bowed, and departed cheerfully; but the Factor and 
Ground Officer followed close behind him, and while Ross was reading 
Her Grace's deli veranee the officer, David Ross, came and snapped the pa|>er 
out of his hand and ran to Factor Gunn with it ; Ross followed, but (Junn 
put it in his pocket saying, ** William, you would need to give it to me after- 
wards at any rate, and 1 will keep it till I read it, and then return it to 
you," and with a tiger-like smile on his face said, "I believe you came 
speed to-day, an<l I am glad of it ;" but William never got it in his hand 
again. However, he was not molested during Her Grace's life. Next 
year she paid a visit to Dunrobin, when factor Wm. Gunn advised Ross to 
apply to her for a reduction of rent, (under the mask of favouring him.) 
He did so, and it was granted cheerfully. Her Grace left Dunrobin this 
year never to return ; in the beginning of the next Spring she was carrie<l 
back to Dunrobin a corpse, and a few daysaftersho was interred in Dornoch, 
William Ross was served with a Summons of Removal from Achtomeleeny, 
and he had nothing to shew. He petitioned the present Duke and his 



170 

CoDimissioner, Mr. Loch, and related the whole circumstance to them, but 
to no avail, only he was told that factor Gunn was ordered to give him 
some other lot of land, which he did; and having no other resource Wil- 
liam accepted of it to his loss; for between loss of cattle, building and 
repairing houses, he was minus of one hundred and fifty pounds sterling 
of his means and substance, from the time he was removed from Achtome- 
leeny till he removed himself to Canada. Besides he had a written 
agreement or promise for melioration or valuation for all the farm improve- 
ments and house building at Achtomeleeny, which was valued by the family 
surveyor at £250. ^A'illiam was always promised to get it, until they 
came to learn that he was leaving for America, then they would not give 
a cent of it. William Ross left them with it to join his family in Canada ; 
but he can in his old age sit at as comfortable a table, and sleep on as 
comfortable a bed, with greater ease of mind and a clearer conscience, 
among his own dutiful and affectionate children, than the tyrant Factor 
ever did or ever will among his. I know as well as any one can tell me 
that this is but one or two cases out of the thousand I could enumerate, 
where the liberality and benevolence of His Grace, and of his parents, 
wefre abused, and that to their patron's loss. You see in the above case, 
that William was advised to plead for a reduction of rent, so that the Fac- 
tor's favourite, Ahab Gilchrist, would have the benefit of Naboth Ross' 
improvement, and the reduction he got on his rent, which would not be 
obtained otherwise. The long and the short of it is, that the unhallowed 
crew of factors and officials, from the highest to the lowest grade of them 
employed by the family of Sutherland for the last 54 years, were so well 
qualified in rascality that they in their combination,could rob both proprietor 
and people. They got the corrupt portion of the public press on their 
side, to applaud their wicked doings and robbing schemes, as the only 
mode of improvement and civilization in the Highlands of Scotland. They 
have got what is still more to be lamented, all the established ministers, 
with few exceptions, on their side; and in them they found faithful aux- 
iliaries in crushing the people. Any of them could hold a whole 
congregation by the hair of their heads over hell-fire, if they offered 
to resist the powers that be, until they submitted. If a single in- 
dividual resisted, he was denounced from the pulj)it, and considered 
afterwards a dangerous mati in the community; and he might depart 
as quick as he could. Any man, or men, may violate the laws of 
God, and violate the laws of heaven as often as he chooses ; he is 
never heeded, and has nothing to fear, but if he offends the 
Duke's Factor, the lowest of his minions, or violates the least of their 
laws and regulations it is an unpardonable sin. The present Duke's 
mother, was no doubt a liberal lady of many good parts, and seemed to be 
much attached to the natives, but unfortunately for them, she employed 
for her factors a vile, unprincipled crew, who were their avowed enemies; 
she would hearken to the complaints of the people, and would write to the 
ministers of the Gospel to ascertain the correctness of complaints, and the 
factor was justified, however gross the outrage was that he committed — the 
minister dined with the factor and could not refuse to favour him. The 



171 

present Duke is a simple, if not a silly, narrow minded gentleman, who 
concerns himself very little, ahout even his own pecuniary affairs ; he 
entrusts his whole affairs to this set of vile, cunning knaves, called factors, 
and the people are enslaved so much that it is now considered the most 
foolish thing a man can do to petition his Grace, whatever is done to 
him, for it will go hard with the factor, or he will punish and make an 
example of him to deter others. 

To detail what I knew myself personally, and what I have learnt from 
others of their petty roguery and robbery, it would, as I said before, fill a 
volume. For another instance : — When a marriage in the fauiily of 
Sutherland takes place, or the birth of an heir, a feast is ordered for the 
Sutherland people, consisting of whiskey, porter, ale, and plenty of eata- 
bles. The day of feasting and rejoicing is appointed, and heralded through- 
out the country, and the people are enjoined in marshal terms to assemble 
— barrels of raw adulterated whiskey are forwarded to each parish, and 
some raw adulterated sugar, and that is all. Bonfires are to be prepared 
upon the tops of the highest mountains. The poorest of the poor are 
warned by family officers to carry the materials consisting of peats and tar 
barrels, upon their backs ; the scene is lamentable to see groups of the*^e 
wretched, half clad and ill-shod, climbing up these mountains with their 
loads ; however, the work must be done, there is no denial, and the evening 
of rejoicing arrived, and the people are assembled at their different 
Clachans ; the barrels of whiskey are taken out to tlie field, and are poured 
into large tubs, and a good amount of abomniable-looking sugar is mixed 
with it, and a sturdy favourite is employed to stir it about with a flail 
handle, or some long cudgel — all sorts of drinking implements are 
produced, sucli as tumblers, bowls, ladles, and tin jugs. Bagpipers 
are set up with great glee. In the absence of the factor, the animal 
called the ground officer, and in some instances the Parish Minister will 
open the jolification, and show an example to the people how to deal with 
this coarse beverage ; after the first round the respectable portion of the 
people will depart, or retire to an inn, where they could enjoy themselves ; 
but the droutliies, and ignorant youthful, will keep the field of revelling 
until tearing of clothes and faces come to be the rule ; fists and cudgels 
supplant jugs and ladles, and this will continue until king Bacchus enters 
the field and hushes the most heroic brawlers, and the most ferocious com- 
batants to sound snoring on the field of rejoicing, where many of them 
enters into contracts with death, from which they never could extricate 
themselves. With the co-oj^emtion and assistance of factors, ministers, and 
editors, a most flourishing account is sent to the world, and to the absentee 
family in London, who knows nothing al>out how the aflair was conducted. 
The world will say how happy must the people be who live under such 
good and noble liberal minded patrons, and the patrons themselves are so 
highly pleased with the re|)ort, that however extraordinary the bill that 
comes to them on the rent day, in place of money, for roast beef and mut- 
ton, bread and cheese, London porter, and Edinburgh ale, which was 
never bought nor tasted by the people, I say they consider their commis- 
sioners used great economy ; no cognizance are taken, the bill is accepted 



172 

and discharged, the people are deceived and the proprietors robbed, and 
the factors divide the spoil, which is not a trifle ; no wonder that the Duke 
■of Sutherland receives so little rent from his Sutherland Estates. Were it 
not for the many channels of wealth pouring in upon him he would be 
bankrupt long ago ; but all these robberies of his Grace will no doubt 
be among the items which makes up the £60,000 sent down to save the 
people from dying by famine, as Loch says ; but I will leave the Duke 
and his factors to settle their own accounts ; one thing is evident, his fac- 
tors and commissioners have disgraced him, and left a stain of immortal 
dye upon him and the family of Sutherland, that time and revolution of 
yeai's will not wipe away. 

Let me now conclude by taking a few extracts from other authors who 
wrote faithfully and without any hostile feeling towards his Grace, or his 
family, nor any other Highland proprietor who followed the AthoU and 
Sutherland clearing example. The first of these extracts is from the 
l)en of that noble minded Scotchman, General Stuart, of Garth, who 
wrote largely upon the clearing system : — 

"It is painful to dwell on this suVrject" [the present state of Suther- 
land] ; **butas information communicated by men of honour, judgment, 
a,nd perfect veracity, descriptive of what they daily witness, affords the 
best means of forming a correct j udgement, and as these gentlemen, from 
their situations in life, have no immediate interest in the determination of 
the question, beyond what is dictated by humanity and a love of truth, 
their authority may be considered as undoubted." — General Stewart of 
Garth, 

" It is by a eruel abuse of legal forms, — it is by an unjust usurpation, 
— that the tacksman and the tenant of Sutherland are considered as having 
no right to the land which they have occupied for so many ages. * * A 
Count or Earl has no more right to expel from their homes the inhabitants 
of his county, than a King to expel from his country the inhabitants of 
his kingdom." — Sismondi. 

THE BELOVED AND GREAT HUGH MILLER ON SUTHERLAND AS IT 

WAS AND IS. 

" There appeared at Paris, about five years ago, a singularly ingenious 
work on political economy, from the pen of the late M. de Sismondi, a 
writer of European reputation. The greater part of the first volume is 
taken up with discussions on territorial wealth, and the condition of the 
cultivators of the soil ; and in this portion of the work there is a promi- 
nent place assigned to a subject which perhaps few Scotch readers would 
«xpect to see introduced through the medium of a foreign tongue to the 
people of a great Continental State. We find this philosophic writer, 
whose works are known far beyond the limits of his language, devoting 
an entire essay to the case of the late Duchess of Sutherland and her 
tenants, and forming a judgement on it very unlike the decision of political 
economists in our own country, who have not hesitated to characterize her 
great and singularly harsh experiment, whose worst effects we are but 



173 

beginning to see, as at once justifiable in itself and happy in its results. 
It is curious to observe how deeds done as if in darkness, or in a comer, are 
beginning, after the lapse of nearly thirty years, to be proclaimed on the 
house-tops. The experiment of the late Duchess was not intended to be 
made in the eye of Kuiope. Its details would ill bear the exposure. 
When Cobbett simply referred to it only ten years ago, the noble proprie 
trix was startled, as if a rather delicate family secret was on the eve of 
being divulged ; and yet nothing seems more evident now than that civi- 
lized man all over the world is to be made aware of how the experiment 
was accomplished, and what it is ultimately to produce. It must be obvi- 
ous, further, that the infatuation of tl!e present proprietor, in virtually 
setting aside the Toleration Act on his property, must have the etiect of 
spreading the knowledge of it all the more widely, and of rendering its 
results much more disastrous than they could have possibly been of them- 
selves. 

In a time of quiet and good order, when law, whether in the right or 
the wrong, is all-potent in enforcing its findings, the argument which the 
philosophic Frenchmen employs in behalf of the ejected tenantry of 
Sutherland, is an argument at which proprietors may afford to smile. In 
a time of revolution, however, when lands change their owners, and old 
families give place to new ones, it might be found somewhat formidable, 
— sufficiently so, at least, to lead a wise i)roprietor in an unsettled age 
rather to conciliate than oppress and irritate the class who would be able 
in such circumstances to urge it with most effect. It is not easy doing 
justice in a few sentences to the facts and reasonings of an elaborate essay : 
but the line of the argument runs somewhat thus : — 

Under the old Celtic tenures, — the only tenures, be it remembered, 
through which the Lords of Sutherland derive their rights to their lands, 
— the Clann, or children of the soil, were the proprietors of the soil ; — 
*' the whole of Sutherland," says Sismondi, belonged to "the men of 
Sutherland." Their chief was their monarch, and a very absolute mon- 
arch he was. *' He gave the different tacks of land to his officers or took 
them away from them, according as they showed themselves more or less 
useful in war. But though he could thus, in a military sense, reward or 
punish the clan, he could not diminish in the least the property of the 
clan itself ;" — he was a chief, not a proprietor, and had " no more right 
to expel from their homes the inhabitants of his county, than a king to 
expel from his country the inhabitants of his kingdom." " Now, the 
Gaelic tenant," continues the Frenchman, " has never been conquered ; 
nor did he forfeit, on any after occasion, the rights which he originally 
possessed ;" — in point of right, he is still a co-proprietor with liis captain. 
To a Scotchman acquainted with the law of property as it has existed 
among us, in even the Highlands, for the last century, and everywhere 
else for at least two centuries more, the view may seem extreme ; not so, 
however, to a native of the Continent, in many parts of which, pre«cri|)- 
tion and custom are found ranged, not on the side of the chief, but on 
that of the vassal. " Switzerland," says Sismondi, ** which in so many 
respects resembles Scotland, — in its lakes, its mountains, — its climate, — 



174 

and the character, manners, and habits of its children, — was likewise at 
the same period parcelled out among a small number of ]jords. If the 
Counts of Kyburgh, of Lentzburg, of Hapsburg, and of Gruyeres, had been 
]>rotected by the English laws they would find themselves at the present 
day precisely in the condition in which the Earls of Sutherland were 
twenty years ago. Some of them would perhaps have had the same taste 
for improvements, and several republics would have been expelled from 
the Alps, to make room for flocks of sheep." "But while the law has 
given to the Swiss peasent a guarantee of perpetuity, it is to the Scottish 
laird that it has extended this guarantee in the British empire, leaving the 
peasant in a precarious situation." "The clan, — recognised at first by 
the captain, whom they followed in war, and obeyed for their common ad- 
vantage, as his friends and relations, then as his soldiers, then as his vas- 
sals, then as his farmers, — he has come finally to regard as hired labourers, 
whom he may perchance allow to remain on the soil of their common 
country for his own advantage, but whom he has the power to expel so 
soon as he no longer finds it for his interest to keep them.'' 

Arguments like those of Sismondi, however much their force may be 
felt on the Continent could be formidable at home, as we have said, in 
only a time of revolution, when the very foundations of society would be 
unfixed, and opinion set loose, to pull down or reconstruct at pleasure. 
But it is surely not uninteresting to mark how, in the course of events, 
that very law of England w^hich, in the view of the Frenchman, has done 
the Highland peasant so much less, and the Highland chief so much more 
than justice, is bidding fair, in the case of Sutherland at least, to carry its 
rude equalizing remedy along with it. Between the years 1811 and 1820, 
fifteen thousand inhabitants of this northern district were ejected from 
their snug inland farms, by means for which we would in vain seek a 
precedent except perchance in the history of the Irish masssacre. 

Mr Miller goes on. He visited Sutherland at the the time of the dis- 
ruption, in the Church of Scotland, and found the people in a deplorable 
state; their complaints and sorrow were heard by him thus — " \Ve were 
ruined and reduced to beggary before," they say, " and now the gospel 
is taken from us." 

Nine-tenths of the poor people of Sutherland are adherents to the Free 
Church, — all of them in whose families the worship of God has been set 
up, — all who entertain a serious belief in the reality of religion, — all who 
are not the creatures of the proprietor, and have not stifled their convic- 
tions for a piece of bread, — are devotedly attached to the dis-established 
ministers, and will endure none other. The Residuary clergy they do not 
recognise as clergy at all. The Established Churches have become as use- 
less in the district, as if, like its Druidical circles, they represented some 
idolatrous belief, long exploded, — the people will not enter them ; and 
they respectfully petition his Grace to be permitted to build other churches 
for themselves. And fain would his Grace indulge them, he says. In 
accordance with the suggestion of an innate desire, willingly would he 
permit them to build their own churches and support their own ministers. 
But then, has he not loyally engaged to support the Establishment 1 To 



175 

j)ermit a religious and inoffensive people to build their own places of wor- 
ship, and support their own clergy, would be sanctioning a sort of perse- 
cution against the Establishment; and as his Grace dislikes religious |)er- 
secution, and has determined always to oppose whatever tends to it, he has 
resolved to make use of his influence, as the most extensive of Scottish 
proprietors, in forcing them back to their parish churches. If they persist 
in worshipping God agreeably to the dictates of their conscience, it must 
be on the unsheltered hill-side, — in winter, amid the frosts and snows of 
a severe northern climate. — in the milder seasons, exposed to the scorch- 
ing sun and the drenching shower. They must not be permitted the 
shelter of a roof. 

We have exhibited to our readers, in the clearing of Sutherland a pro- 
i-ess of ruin so thoroughly disastrous, that it might be deemed scarcely 
possible to render it more complete. And yet with all its apparent com- 
pleteness, it admitted of a supplementary process. To employ one of the 
striking figures of Scripture, it was possible to grind into powder what had 
lieen previously broken into fragments, — to degrade the poor inhabitants 
to a still lower level than that on which they had been so cruelly precipi- 
tated, — though persons of a not very original cast of mind might have 
found it difficult to say how, the Duke of Sutherland has been ingenious 
enough to fall on exactly the one proper expedient for supplementing their 
ruin. All in mere circumstance and situation that could lower and 
deteriorate, had been present as ingredients in the first jirocess; but there 
still remained for the people, however reduced to poverty or broken in 
spirit, all in religion that consoles andennobles. Sabbath-days came round 
with their humanizing influences; and, under the teachings of the gospel, 
the poor and the oppressed looked longingly forward to a future scene of 
Ijeing, in which there is no poverty or oppression. They still possessed, 
amid their misery, something positively good, of which it was impossible to 
deprive them; and hence the ability derived to the present lord of Suther- 
land of deepening and rendering more signal the ruin accomplished by 
his jiredecessor. 

These harmonize but too well with the mode in which the interior of 
Sutherland was cleared, and the improved cottages of its sea-coasts erected. 
I'he plan has its two items. No sites are to be granted in the district for 
!Vee Churches, and no dwelling-house for Free Church ministers. The 
limate is severe, — the winters prolonged and stormy, — the roads which 
> onnect the chief seats of j)opulution with the neighbouring counties, 
dreary and long. May not ministers and people bo eventually worn out 
in this way? Such is the portion of the plan which his Grace and his 
Grace's creatures can afford to present to the light. But there are supple- 
mentary items of a somewhat darker kind. The poor cotters are, in the 
great majority of cases, tenants-at-will ; and there has been much pains 
taken to inform them, that to the crime of entertaining and sheltering a 
Protesting minister, the penalty of ejection from their holdings must 
inevitably attach. The laws of Charles have again returned in this un- 
happy district, and free and tolerating Scotland has got, in the nineteenth 
1 ontury, as in the seventeenth, its intercommuned ministers. 



176 

not say that the intimation has emanated from the Duke. It is the mis- 
fortune of such men, that there creep around them creatures whose busi- 
ness it is to anticipate their wishes ; but who, at tiuies, doubtless, instead 
of anticipating, misinterpret them ; and who, even when not very much 
mistaken, impart to whatever they do the impress of their own k)w and 
menial natures, and thus exaggerate in the act, the intention of their 
masters. We do not say, therefore, that the intimation has emanated 
from the Duke ; but this we say, that an exemplary Sutherlandshire 
minister of the Protesting Church, who resigned his worldly all for the 
sake of his principles, had lately to travel, that he might preach to his 
attached people, a long journey of forty- four miles outwards, and as much 
in return, and all this without taking shelter under cover of a roof, or 
without partaking of any other refreshment than that furnished by the 
slender store of provisions which he had carried with him from his new 
home. Willingly would the poor Highlanders have received him at any 
risk ; but knowing from experience what a Sutherlandshire removal means 
he preferred enduring any amount of hardship rather than that the 
hospitality of his people should be made the occasion of their ruin. We 
have already adverted to the case of a lady of Sutherland threatened 
"with ejection from her home because she had extended the shelter of her 
roof to one of the Protesting clergy, — an aged and venerable man, who 
had quitted the neighbouring manse, his home for many years, because he 
could no longer enjoy it in consistency with his principles ; and we have 
shown that that aged and venerable man was the lady's own father. What 
amount of oppression of a smaller and more petty character may not be 
expected in the circumstances, when cases such as these are found to stand 
but a very little over the ordinary level 1 

The meanness to which ducal hostility can stoop in this hapless district, 
impress with a feeling of surprise. In the parish of Dornoch, for instance, 
where his Grace is fortunately not the sole landowner, there has been a 
site procured on the most generous terms from Sir George Gunn Monro 
of Poyntzfield ; and this gentleman, believing himself possessed of a 
hereditary right to a quarry, which, though on the Duke's ground, had 
been long resorted to by the proprietors of the district generally, instruc- 
ted the builder to take from it the stones which he needed. Here, how- 
ever, his Grace interfered. Never had the quarry been prohibited before, 
but on this occasion, a stringent interdict arrested its use. If his Grace 
could not prevent a hated Free Church from arising in the district, he 
could at least add to the expense of its erection. We have even heard 
that the portion of the building previously erected had to be pulled down 
and the stones returned. 

How are we to account for a hostility so determined, and that can stoop 
so low 1 In two different ways, we are of opinion, and in both have the 
people of Scotland a direct interest. Did his Grace entertain a very 
intense regard for Established Presbytery, it is probable that he himself 
would be a Presbyterian of the Establishment. But such is not the case. 
The church into which he would so fain force the people has been long, 
since deserted by himself. The secret of the course which he pursues can. 



have no connection therefore with religious motive or belief. It can be 
no prosleytising spirit that misleads his Grace. Let us remark, in the 
first place, rather however, in the way of embodying a fact, than imputing 
a motive, that with his present views, and in his present circumstances, it 
may not seem particularly his Grace's interest to make the county of Suther- 
land a happy or desii-able home to the people of Scotland. It may not 
to be his Grace's interest that the population of the district should increase. 
The dealing of the sea coast may seem as little prejudicial to his Grace's 
welfare now, as the clearing of the interior seemed adverse to the interests 
of his predecessor thirty years ago ; nay, it is quite possible that his Grace 
may be led to regard the clearing of the coast as the better and more im- 
portant clearing of the two. Let it not be forgotten that a poor-law hangs 
over Scotland — that the shores of Sutherland are covered with what 
seems one vast straggling village, inhabited by an impoverislied and ruined 
people — and that the coming assessment may yet fall so weighty that the 
extra profits accruing to his Grace from his large sheep farms, may go but 
a small way in supporting his extra paupers. It is not in the least impro- 
bable, that he may live to find the revolution effected by his predecessor 
taking to itself the form not of a crime, for that would be nothing, — 
but of a disastrous and very terrible blunder. 

There is another remark which may prove not unworthy the considera- 
tion of the reader. Ever since the completion of the fatal experiment 
which ruined Sutherland, the noble family through which it was originated 
and carried on have betrayed the utmost jealousy of having its real results 
made public. Volumes of special pleading have been written on the sub- 
ject, — pamphlets have been published, laboured articles have been inserted 
in widely spread reviews, — statistical accounts have been watched over 
with the most careful surveillance. If the misrepresentations of the press 
could have altered the matter of fact, famine would not be gnawing the 
vitals of Sutherland in a year a little less abundant than its prede- 
cessors nor would the dejected and oppressed people be feeding their 
discontent, amid present misery, with the recollections of a happier past. 
If asingularly well-conditioned and wholesome district of country has been 
converted into one wide ulcer of wretchedness and woe, it must be confessed 
that the sore has been carefully bandaged up from the public eye, — that 
if there has been little done for its cure, there has at least been much done 
for its concealment. Now, be it remembered, that a Free Church threat- 
(ius to insert a tent into this wound, and so keep it o|)en. It has been 
said that the Gaelic language removes a district more effectually from the 
intluenco of English opinion than an ocean of three thousand miles, and 
that the British public know better what is doing in New York than what 
is doing in Lewis or Skye. And hence one cause, at least, of the thick 
obscurity that has so long enveloped the miseries which the poor High- 
lander has had to endure, and the oppressions to which he has been 
subjected. The Free Chui-ch threatens to translate her wrongs into Eng- 
lish, and to give them currency in the general mart of opinion. She 
might possibly enough be no silent spectator of conflagrations such at 
those which characterized the first general iniprovomont of Sutherland,— 



178 

nor yet of such Egyptian schemes of house-building as that which formed 
part of the improvements of a later plan. She might be somewhat apt to 
betray the real state of the district, and thus render laborious misrepre- 
sentation of little avail. She might effect a diversion in the cause of the 
people, and shake the foundations of the hitherto despotic power which 
has so long weighed them down. She might do for Sutherland what 
Cobbett promised to do for it, but what Cobbett had not character enough 
to accomplish, and what he did not live even to attempt. A combination 
of circumstances have conspired to vest in a Scottish proprietor, in this 
northern district, a more despotic power than even the most absolute 
monarclis of the Continent possess; and it is, perhaps, no great wonder 
that that proprietor should be jealous of the introduction of an element 
which threatens, it may seem, materially to lessen it. And so he strug- 
gles hard to exclude the Free Church, and, though no member of the Es- 
tablishment himself, declares warmly in its behalf. Certain it is, that 
from the Establishment, as now constituted, he can have nothing to fear, 
and the people nothing to hope. 

Af tei- what manner may his Grace, the Duke of Sutherland, be most 
effectually met in this matter, so that the cause of toleration and freedom 
of conscience may be maintained in the extensive district which God, in 
his providence, has consigned to his stewardship? We shall in our next 
chapter attempt giving the question an answer. Meanwhile, we trust the 
people of Sutherland will continue, as hitherto, to stand firm. The strong 
repugnance which they feel against being driven into churches which all 
their ministers have left, is not ill founded. No church of God ever em- 
ploys such means of conversion as those employed by his Grace; they are 
means which have been often resorted to for the purpose of making men 
worse, — never yet for the purpose of making them better. We know that 
with their long formed church-going habits, the people must feel their 
now silent Sabbaths pass heavily ; but they would perhaps do well to 
remember amid the tedium and gloom, that there were good men who- 
not only anticipated such a time of trial for this country, but who also 
made provision for it. Thomas Scott, when engaged in writing his Com- 
mentary, used to solace himself with the belief that it might be of use at 
a period when the public worship of God would be no longer tolerated in 
the land. To the great bulk of the people of Sutherland that time seems 
to have already come. They know, however, the value of the old divines, 
and have not a few of their more practical treatise translated into their 
expressive tongue, — Alleine^s Alarm, — Boston's Fourfold State, — Dod- 
dridge's Else and Progress, — Baxter s Call, — Guthrie's Saving Interest. 
Let these and such as these be their preachers, when they can procure no 
other. The more they learn to relish them, the less will they relish the 
bald and miserable services of the Residuary Church. Let them hold 
their fellowship and prayer meetings, — let them keep up the worship of 
God in their families : the cause of religious freedom in the district is in- 
volved in the stand which they make. Above all, let them possess their 
souls in patience. We are not unacquainted with the Celtic character, 
as developed in the Highlands of Scotland. Highlanders, up to a certain. 



179 

point, are the most docile, patient, enduring of men ; but that point once 
ptissed, endurance ceases, and the all too gentle lamb starts up an angiy 
lion. The spirit is stirred that maddens at the sight of the naked wea}>on, 
and that in its headlong rush uix>n the enemy, discipline can neither 
check nor control. Let our oppressed Highlanders of Sutherland beware. 
They have suffered much; but, so far as man is the agent, their battles can 
be fought on only the arena of public opinion, and on that ground which 
the political field may be soon found to furnish. Any explosion of violence 
on their })art would be ruin to both the Free Cburch and themselves. 

But we have not yet said how this ruinous revolution was effected in 
Sutherland, — how the aggravation of the viode, if we may so speak, still 
fester in the recollections of the people, — or how thoroughly that policy of 
the lord of the soil, through which he now seems determined to complete 
the work of ruin which his predecessors began, harmonizes with its worst 
details. We must first relate, however, a disastrous change which took 
place, in the providence of God, in the noble family of Sutherland, and 
which, though it dates fully eighty years back, may be regarded as preg- 
nant with the disasters which afterwards befell the country. 

Such of our readers as are acquainted with the memoir of Lady Glen- 
orchy, must remember a deeply melancholy incident which occurred in 
the history of this excellent woman, in connection with the noble family 
of Sutherland. Her only sister had been married to William, seventeenth 
Earl of Sutherland, — ** the first of the good Earls ;" "a nobleman," says 
the Kev. Dr. Jones in his Memoir, " who to the finest person united all 
the dignity and amenity of manners and character which give lustre to 
greatness." But his sun was destined soon to go down. Five years after 
his marriages, which proved one of the happiest, and was blessed with two 
children, the elder of the two, the young Lady Catherine, a singularly en- 
gaging child, was taken from him by death, in his old hereditary castle of 
Dunrobin. The event deeply affected both parents, and preyed on their 
health and spirits. It had taken place amid the gloom of a severe north- 
em winter, and in the solitude of the Highlands; and acquiesing in the 
advice of friends, the Karl and his lady quitted the family seat, where 
there was so much to remind them of their bereavement, and sought relief 
in the more cheerful atmosphere of Bath. But they were not to find it 
there. Shortly after their arrival, the Earl was seized by a malignant 
fever, with which, upheld by a [>owerful constitution, he struggled for 
fifty-four days, and then expired. For the first twenty-one days and 
nights of tliese," says Dr. Jones, " Lady Sutherland never left his bed- 
side; and then at last, overcome with fatigue, anxiety, and grief, she sank 
an unavailing victim to an amiable, but excessive attachment, seventeen 
days before the death of her lord." The period, though not very remote, 
was one in which the intelligence of events travelled slowly ; and in this 
instance the distraction of the family must have served to retard it beyond 
the ordinary time. Her Ladyship's mother, when hastening from Edin- 
burgh to her assistance, alighted one day from her carriage at an inn, and 
on seeing two hearses standing by the way side, inquired of an attendant 
whose remains they contained 1 The reply was, the remains of Lord and 



180 

Lady Sutherland, on their way for interment to the Royal Chapel of Holy- 
rood House. And such yths the first intimation of which the lady received 
of the death of her daughter and son-in-law. 

The event was pregnant with disaster to Sutherland, though many years 
elapsed ere the ruin which it involved fell on that hapless country. The 
sole survivor and heir of the family was a female infant of but a year old. 
Her maternal grandmother, an ambitious, intriguing woman of the world, 
had the chief share in her general training and education ; and she was 
brought up in the south of Scotland, of which her grandmother was a 
native, far removed from the influence of those genial sympathies with 
the people of her clan, for which the old lords of Sutherland had been so 
remarkable, and, what was a sorer evil still, from the influence of the 
vitalities of that religion which, for five generations together, her fathers 
had illustrated and adorned. The special mode in which the disaster told 
first, was through the patronage of the county, the larger part of which 
was vested in the family of Sutherland. Some of the old Earls had been 
content, as we have seen, to place themselves on the level of the Christian 
men of their parishes, and thus to unite with them in calling to their 
churches the Christian minister of their choice. They know, — what re- 
generated nature can alone know, with the proper emphasis, that in Christ 
Jesus the vassal ranks with his Lord, and they conscientiously acted on the 
conviction. But matters were now regulated difierently. The presenta- 
tion supplanted the call, and the ministers came to be placed in the parishes 
of Sutherland without the consent, and contrary to the will, of the people. 
Churches, well filled hitherto, were deserted by their congregations, just 
because a respectable woman of the world, making free use of what she deem- 
ed her own, had planted them with men of the world, who were only tolera- 
bly respectable ; and in houses and bams, the devout men of the district 
learned to hold numerously attended Sabbath meetings for reading the 
Scriptures, and mutual exhortation, and prayer, as a sort of substitute for 
the public services, in which they found they could no longer join with 
profit. The spirit awakened by the old Earls had survived themselves, 
and ran directly counter to the policy of their descendant. Strongly at- 
tached to the Establishment the people, though they thus forsook their 
old places of worship, still remained members of the national Church, and 
travelled far in the summer season to attend the better ministers of their 
own and the neighbouring counties. We have been assured, too, from 
men whose judgment we respect, that, under all their disadvantages, 
religion continued peculiarly to flourish among them ; — a deep-toned evan- 
gelism prevailed; so that perhaps the visible church throughout the world 
at the time could furnish no more striking contrast than that which ob- 
tained between the cold, bald, common-place service of the pulpit in some 
of these parishes, and the fervid prayers and exhortations which give life 
and interest to these humble meeting of the people. What a pity it is 
that differences such as these the Duke of Sutherland cannot see. ! 

The marriage of the young countess into a noble English family was 
fraught with further disaster to the country. There are m any Englishmen 
quite intelligent enough to perceive the difference between a smoky cottage 



181 

of turf and a white-washed cottage of stone, whose judgment on their 
respective inhabitants wouj^d be of but little value. " Sutherland, as a 
country of men, stood higher at this period than perhaps any other dis- 
trict in the British empire ; but, as our description in the preceding chap- 
ter must have shown, — and we indulged in thera mainly with a view to tliis 
part of our subject, — it by no means stood high as a country of farms and 
cottages. The marriage of the Countess brought a new set of eyes upon 
it — eyes accustomed to quite- a different face of things. It seemed a wild, 
rude country, where all was wrong, and all had to be set right, — a sort of 
Russia on a small scale, that had just got another Peter the Great to civi- 
lize it, — or a sort of barbarous Egypt, with an energetic Ali Pasha at its 
head. Even the vast wealth and great liberality of the Staflbrd family 
militated against this hapless country : it enabled them to treat it as the 
mere subject of an interesting experiment, in which gain to themselves 
was really no object, — nearly as little so as if they had resolved on dissect- 
ing a dog alive for the benefit of science." 

Mr. Miller might have gone farther to shew the cause of the desolation 
which overtook the Sutherlanders, for he was aware of it, but for want of 
positive proof he was deterred. There was mighty cause to believe in 
Sutherlandshire that there was not a drop of the Sutherland families blood 
in the veins of the first Duchess of Sutherland. As tradition in the 
country went, when she an infant came under the guardianship of her 
Grandmother, a cousin or a second cousin of hers of the name of Betsy 
Wyms of the same age, and complexion with Betsy Sutherland, was 
brought home to the Grandmother to be her companion, the children 
lived happy, and grew together, but Betsy Sutherland grew taller than her 
companion. The gentlemen of Sutherland were very mindful of their 
heiress, and were sending her presents of the produce of the county, such 
as fowls, venison, butter, cheese, <fec., yearly, and the family officer of the 
name of John Harall, was always entrusted with the mission ; in this 
way John became well acquainted with the young heiress and her com- 
panion, on his arrival she always (after she was four or five years of age) 
met him at the gate entrance, and made great work with him, she could 
scarcely be prevailed upon to go to bed that night he arrived, but getting 
little news from him. When she was about eight years of age, the news 
came home to Sutherland that a sudden death deprived her of her com- 
panion, Betsy Wyms : and a great lamentation was made as Betsy Suther- 
land was so very melancholy, and refused to accept of any other companion. 
Next Martimas John Harral was despatched with presents more than ordi- 
nary, and letters of condolence to the young heiress, and wishing 
the day might soon arrive when they would see her in Sutherland, and 
sitting on her mother's chair in Dunrobin Castle. Jolin Harral airived 
in Edinburgh, and at the gate of Leven Mansion, rang the bell, observed 
the young lady coming as usual, skipping down among the shrubbery, 
and her maid following, the gate was opened and the young lady grasped 
him by the hand ; John was dumbfounded and in his confusion of mind 
asked where was Betsy Sutherland, (as he used to call her) ; I am Betsy 
Sutherland was the reply ; no my dear says he, you are Betsy Wyms ; the 



182 

maid whirled the young lady about, and John did not see her face again 
for years ; John delivered his commission as usual, and was discharged 
that same night, instead of remaining a week or a fortnight as usual. 
John came home disappointed and disheartened, and told his plain story 
but full of mystery. The heiress was removed to a boarding school in 
England, and could not be seen by another Sutherlander to recognise her 
until she came to raise a regiment in Sutherland : what confirmed the fraud 
upon the minds of the people was a singular anecdote. The first night 
she landed in Sutherlandshire a mildew or hoar-frost fell that night, in 
June, which destroyed the crops of that year, and almost every green 
growth in the county, and did yet not reach upon either the neighbouring 
counties of Caithness or Ross, and it is said that that mildew never rose 
yet. One thing is clear that at the time Betsy Wyms was reported to be 
dead, that a commission was bought in the East India Company for the 
proper heir of the estate, who was then only a young boy ; though ever 
so young he was despatched to that cemetery of enterprise, where he 
soon died, none being then to claim the estate but his two orphan sisters, 
the investigation to the fraud ceased, but the Duchess had the generosity 
of settling a portion of £15 upon each of these presumptive female heirs, 
but when they became old and infirm, occupying a small garret room in 
the Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, the portion was reduced by Loch to 
£2 each, yearly. I knew them, I often visited them in this forlorn con- 
dition, I petitioned her Grace twice in their behalf, but to no 2)urpose ; at 
last I got them on the west Kirk parish poor roll. They were taken into 
the poor house and died there. 

The former part of this short but singular narrative, be it correct or in- 
correct, I give it as I heard it from my father, and many more of the old 
men who lived in that age, and who had too much cause to believe it to 
be correct, for they were almost ever since governed and treated with an 
alien's iron and fiery rod. 

; I am sorry that for the present I must lay aside many important com- 
munications bearing upon the clearing system of the Highlanders which 
corroborates and substantiates my description of it, such as letters published 
by Mr. Summer and Mr. Donald Ross, Glasgow, Mr. Donald Sutherland, 
which appeared in the Woodstock Sentinel a few weeks ago, but above all 
I regret how little I can take from the pen of Mr. Mackie, Editor of the 
Northern Ensifjn, Wick, Caithness, N.B., a gentleman who since the appear- 
ance of his valuable paper proved himself the faithful friend of the op- 
pressed, the indefatigable exposer of their wrongs, terror of o))pre8sors, and 
a chastiser of their tools, apologizers and abettors, though his pecuniary 
benefits would be to sail in the same boat with his unprincipled contempo- 
raries in the north of Scotland, but he chose the better part, and there 
is a higher promise of reward for him than worm Dukes, Lords, Esquires, 
and their vile underlings could bestow. The following is among the last 
of his productions on the subject. 



183 

'WILLING HANDS FOR INDIA.' 

Over this title Punch of last week gives a very exciting illustration. A 
towering cart load of ingathered grain, with a crowing cock on its summit, 
forms the background ; while in front a recruiting officer and a party are 
cheered by the excited harvesters coming forward with reaping hooks in 
their hands, to volunteer for India, the banner borne by the otiicer repre- 
senting the British lion in the act of springing on the Bengal tiger. The 
recruits, not yet returned from the harvest field, are all enthusiasm, and 
are eagerly rushing to enrol themselves among the avengers of the butch- 
eries that have been perpetrated in our Indian empire. 

The newspapers of the south report that the recruiting in certain dis- 
tricts has been most successful, and that already many thousand young 
men of promise have entered the line. It is remarkable, however, particu- 
larly so, that all reference to the district from which the main strength 
of our regular army was formerly obtained is most studiously avoided. 
May we ask the authorities what success the recruiting officer has now 
met with in the Highlands of Scotland ? Time was, in former exigencies, 
when all eyes were turned in that direction and not in vain. Time was, 
when, in only five days, the county of Sutherland alone contributed one 
tlioiisand young men ; and when, in fourteen days, no fewer than eleven 
times that number were enrolled as recruits from the various Highland 
districts. Time was when the immortal Chatham boasted that * he had 
found upon the mountains of Caledonia a gallant though oppressed race of 
heroes, who had triumphantly carried the British banner into every 
quarter of the globe.' Time was when PuncJi would, in such an illustra- 
tion as that of last week, have included in its representation some half- 
dozen kilted Celts, shoulder to shoulder, issuing from the mountain 
hom<!S, and panting to be let loose on tiie Indian bloodhounds. 

Why not now ] Answer the question, my Lord Duke of Sutherland. 
Tell her Majesty, my Lord, why the bagpipes of the recruiting ]>arty are 
silent in Sutherland, and why * no willing hands for India ' are found in 
your Grace's vast Highland domain. Tell her how it happens that the 
patriotic enthusiasm which at the close of the last century was shown in 
the almost magical enrolment of thousands of brawny Sutherlanders, who 
gained world-wide renown at Corunna, at Fuentt^s d'Onor, at Vittoria, at 
Waterloo, and elsewhere, is now unknown in Sutherland, and how the 
enrolment of one man in that large county is a seven year's wonder. If 
your f J race is silent the answer is not wanting, nor is her Majesty igno- 
rant of it. 

And yet the cursed system which has disheartened and well nigh 
Itjstroyed that * race of heroes,' is ])ertinaciou8ly persevered in by the very 
men who, of all others, should be the first to come forward and denounce 
it. 'Willing hands for India,' say /^(/nc/j. 'No,' sjiys hi^'h bred lorda 
and coroneted jieers ; gives us game preserves, deer forests, and sheep 
walks. Perish your bold peasantry I and life to the pleasures of the forest 
and the mountain heath.' And thus it is that landlord after landlord is 
yearly weeding out the aborginies, and converting Scotland into one pon- 



184 

derous deer forest. Not a year passes without seeing hundreds of unof- 
fending men, women, and children, from Cape Wrath to Mull of Galloway^ 
remorselessly unhoused, and their little crofts added to the vast waste. 
And now that Britain for the second time in four years has again to 
invoke the patriotism of her sons, and to call for aid in the eventful crisis 
in India, the blast of the recruiter's bugle evokes only the bleat of sheep, 
or the pitiful bray of the timid deer, in the greater part of those wide regions 
which formerly contributed their tens of thousands of men to fight their 
country's battles. Oh, had Chatham been alive now, what a feeling would 
have been awakened in his manly breast as he surveyed the wreck which 
the Loch policy has occasioned ; and with what crushing eloquence would 
he have invoked the curse of heaven on that system. Meanwhile, Britain 
misses her Highland heroes, and the imperilled troops in India, with the 
unoffending women and children, must wait the tardy arrival of ' willing 
hands ' to assist them, while, had the Highlanders of Scotland been aa 
they once were, in one week more men would have been raised for India 
than would have sufficed to have effectually crushed the Indian revolt, had 
spread itself from the foot of the Himalaya mountains to the most distant 
district of our Indian empire. 

Let Highland evictors, from Dukes to the meanest squires, beware. 
Popular patience has a limit ; and it seems to me that the time is rapidly 
nearing when, if Parliament remains longer silent, the people of the 
covintry will arouse themselves, and, by one united expression of their 
will, drive back to its native den the foul and disastrous policy which has 
depeopled the Scottish Highlands." 

Brave John Mackie keep on your armour, you have now another Eng- 
lish Duke, no doubt a sporting one, to watch, who will finish the desola- 
tion of the Langsvell Estate, which the scourge, Donald Horn, commenced 
some years ago. You never had a higher dignitary before in Caithness 
than a Lord. Now that you are to be honoured and blessed by a Duke, a 
sporting Grace, I predict that in a few years Caithness which has been hith- 
erto an exception among all other Highland Counties ; may be ranked in 
the same category with Sutherlandshire — (Ichahod, glory departed^ deso- 
lation) — for his Grace of Portland's retinue will consist of other Graces, 
and Lords who must be supplied with sporting ground for themselves, 
while there is an estate in Caithness which money can purchase or to 
lease, Caithness lairds cannot resist the temptation of their long })urses. 
We have proof positive of this in the parishes of Reay, Thurso, and 
Halkirk what devastation was made there, to gratify that insatiable mon- 
ster in human shape, John Paterson of rotten, and infamous memory, to 
the everlasting disgrace of the Gordons and Sinclairs who indulged that 
man, what will they not do when they have to gratify English graces and 
lords? But it is not what they have done, or what they will do, should be 
the question with us, but what have we done and what are we to dol We 
have a very important duty to perform, and the sins of omission and the 
sins of commission are equally as henious, and as culpable in the sight of 
Heaven. Much has the British nation to account for, for these sins of 
omission. With folded arms, and callous indifference they have seen 



185 

county after county in the Highlands of Scotland depopulated, the people 
ruined, oppressed and dispersed; they have tolerated, indeed countenanced, 
a systematic policy, which anyone might see with half an eye, would end 
in the alienation of the people, the enfeeblement and ultimately in the 
disgrace of the nation. In the year 1747, the very next year after the 
Cumberland massacre of the Highlanders upon Culloden field, and his nine 
months ravages and murder in that country. According to Gartmor's manu- 
script, the Highlands could raise 52,800 able-bodied young men from the 
age of 18 to 3G years. It is evident that many years prior to this date 
agricultural improvements were not much studied in either Scotland or 
England, more especially in the Highlands, on account of continued inter- 
nal war and broils, about throning and dethroning legitimate and illegiti- 
mate sovereigns ; but if the Highlands of Scotland could then raise 52,000 
men, I ask, under proper and wise management, how many soldiers should 
the Highlands raise in the year 1857 ] At the lowest estimate we cannot 
say less than 67,000, only allowing the population to increase one- third 
during a |)eriod of one hundred and ten years. What would such an in- 
vincible Celtic array be worth to the British nation to-day ? who laughed 
and sneered at their calamities and dispersion some years ago, and who 
would practically say, they may go to h — 1 if they choose, but we and our 
sons must have deer stalking ground. I ask, what would such an irresis- 
tible body of men be worth to Britain to-day ] Would they not be worth 
more than all the deer, grouse, game, bulls, bullocks, rams, sheep, and 
lambs, all the sporting gents, foresters, shepherds, dogs, and aristocratic 
scions in Britain, and all the German legions that Germany can produce 
to boot. Tell them John Mackie, and proclaim it in their ears through 
your widely circulated and well read Ensign, that on former emergen- 
cies of less importance than the present, there was no difficulty in 
raising regiments in the highlands — take them to their own records, and 
they will find that 6,000 were raised or embodied in one year, 8,000 in 
another four years, and twenty times that number willing and ready if 
required ; 2,000 of these were from Sutherlandshire, where there is not one 
willing man to be found now, and I question if a score, or even two, will- 
ing to be soldiers are to be found throughout the whole highlands. The 
patriotism so characteristic of highlanders is comi)letely destroyed, and 
that for years i)a8t. But Britain will find out that if she is to maintain 
her former envied position among the nations of the earth that it will be 
by her own sons, and not by aliens or confederating with foreigners, upon 
whose constancy very little reliance can be placed. Woe to kings, and 
rulers who forsake, oppress, and disperse their own people, and have to 
look up to strangers and aliens for succour in time of need. Britain has 
dealt treaclujrously with her own people. T/ie nwunUuns of CaledomOf 
from which at all times her principle succour did come to her in time qjf 
need are desolated. Britain is now in need, and in vain looks to these 
mountains for the invincible host, for they are not there, and it is to be 
feared that she may look in vain to (the mountain^ God, to whom her 
sires looked for succour, and who often accompanied her armies, and host, 
while they were councelled by Him, fighting the battles of civil and reli- 



186 

gious liberty at home and abroad, and dealing justly with his people. But 
who can say but it is upon the scorching plains of India and through the 
instrumentality of Mahomedans, Pagans and other idolators, where her 
eyes are to be opened, and convinced of her past shortsighted folly and 
sinful policy, although hitherto blind to see her folly, and deaf to the dic- 
tates of humanity, and sound reasoning, to the instruction and commands 
of God, his prophets and apostles, to the remonstrance of philosophers, and 
all who had her real interest at heart ; and although it is generally believed 
that it is similar British tyranny, shortsighted, cruel policy, and mal-ad- 
ministration, which depopulated the Highlands of Scotland, ruined Ire- 
land, and beggared two-fifths of the nation is the cause of the outbreak 
in India, and the horrifying massacres, and inhuman deeds perpetrated by 
these uncivilised deluded savages ; yet it behoves every son of Britain 
wherever he is to be found, to join in the demonstration, demanding the 
abolition of her game laws, and every other law known and proven to 
afford these accursed vermin of the aristocratic tribe an opportunity of 
oppressing the industrious people, and detrimental to the progress and 
prosperity of the nation, and endangering her dignity, her safety, yea her 
very existence. Utopianism, utopianism, many will cry out ; but it is 
not more Utopian to demand the abolition of the game laws, which costs 
the nation more than half a million sterling yearly for banishing and im- 
prisoning poachers, and which have been the cause of many a bloody, 
murderous affray, preserving animals, and birds which consumes more than 
three millions sterling worth of human food every year, besides the many 
thousand acres of land lying waste to afford them room for amusement and 
solitude, than it was to demand the abolition of the Corn Laws and Slave 
Laws. Many excellent men of high standing in Society are devoting 
their time demonstrating the necessity and legality of abolishing, not 
only the Game Laws, but the Laws of Entail and Primogeniture, the 
Hypothec, <fec. Will you not follow their example 1 



THE FREEHOLD MOVEMENT AND HIGHLAND CLEARANCES. 

A stirring meeting, fully reported in the Daili/ Express of Monday, 
was held in Queen Street Hall, Edinburgh, on Saturday, when powerful 
speeches were made by Messrs Beal (from London), Taylor (from Bir- 
mingham), Dr. Begg, Mr Duncan M'Laren, Mr Dove, and others. The 
meeting was most enthusiastic, and gave every indication of energy and 
decision. 

Mr Beal, in the course of his speech, said, — In England, they had 
looked with stern indignation at some acts which had taken place in the 
northern parts of Scotland, in regard to those great clearings of which 
they had heard so much. (Applause.) Such things might be 
prevented if the influence of the tenantry and of the mass of the 
people, who were now deprived of the suffrage, were brought to bear on 
the system of Parliamentary representation by means of a freehold move- 
ment. The counties would not then send as their representatives some 
twenty or thirty men who lacked the intelligence and the progressive 



187 

spirit of the age. (Hear, hear.) The landlord influence would then be 
destroyed, and the people's poet would then be no longer able to say as at 
present — 

I have driven out peaaants, I have banished them forth, 
There is hardly a Celt on the hills of the north. 

If their own members opposed them, instead of assisting them in the 
movement, they could yet look confidently to the support of a large body 
of the English statesmen. 

Mr. Dove, with his usual manly independence, spoke out nobly, as fol- 
lows : — He looked upon this movement as the first thing which he had 
seen in his day that was calculated to break up that aristocratic influence 
that had long preyed upon this country of Scotland. (Applause.) When 
they saw men hounded out of the Highlands as they had been — (cheers 
and hisses) — let them ask themselves what possible measure could save 
that Highland population except a freehold movement, which should root 
them into the soil of Scotland. (Cheers.) That population had been 
driven out of their country, and now they had only the sea and the sea- 
shore left to them ; but he (Mr. Dove) told them, as he told Scotland, that 
this movement was the best movement which they had seen in their day, 
and the most calculated to benefit the whole population of the Highlands 
of Scotland. (Loud applause.) This very day he was a Scottish Rights' 
man, and would remain so. He did not care one single farthing what any 
might say on that subject ; he would say that he was a Scottish Rights' 
man, and would always be so. (Laughter and cheei-s.) And that very 
day, finding that they could do very little for that Highland population in 
any other way, he had been engaged with his friend Mr. George Wink, 
The Secretary of the Scottish Rights* Association, in endeavouring to 
tound a fishery, and to furnish to these people their boats, lines, nets, and 
♦•verything which could keep them at home. (Cheers.) Now, he did 
not know that he should have used the word himself ; but they had been 
told of their subserviency to the landlords; and Mr. Duncan M'Laren had 
used the words bad lawyers. He did not mean to say that he would have 
used the word, but in his opinion they were all bad lawyers. (Mr. 
M'Laren — I meant that they were giving bad law, and not that they were 
l>ad men.) Mr Dove said he knew perfectly well ^Ir M'Laren's mean- 
ing — that they were giving a wrong explanation of what the law of Eng- 
land was, and that they were either ignorant or maliciously misleading the 
people of Scotland. I3ut his (Mr. Dove's meaning was very difibrent ; 
for he told them that they were bad lawyers, because they had cleared out 
that Highland population in many cases illegally — (hisses and cheers) — 
ind he told them that two or three years ago down at Knoidart, they took 
the sick people out of their houses, pulled those houses down, and left the 
inmates exposed to the winds of heaven. (A voice — 'They had no right 
to the land,' and cries of * Order ') — and he told them that they pulled 
down the barns there in which the people could have been sheltered. 
Now, it was quite true that the law unfortunately gave them the power to 
pull down the houses, but not the bams, which would have in some 



188 

sure sheltered the poor people. But, nevertheless, they had done so, and 
the people had remained unsheltered ; and he, (Mr. Dove) said that, if as 
Scotchmen they permitted such things to go on, they were cot worthy of 
the name, (applause.) He hoped he had expressed his meaning pretty 
plainly, which was, that he was a Scottish Rights' man, and as such he 
could look any Englisman in the face. 

We hope to give this great movement due attention at an early date. 
Good speed to it. 



ODE- ON SCOTLAND'S LOVE OF INDEPENDENCE. 



Scotland's hills and dales can tell, 
How bravely foemen she could quell, 
What hosts before her vanquish d fell 
On many a well fought day. 

For liberty her red cross flew ; 
For liberty her sword she drew ; 
For liberty her foes o'erthrew ; 
She could not be a slave. 

When Rome's proud eagle was unfurl'd, 
And floated o'er a prostrate world, 
Defiance, Caledonia hurl'd, 
And scorn'd the haughty foe. 

When Scandinavia pour'd her swarms ; 
Fill'd all her coasts with dire alarms, 
Then Scotland dauntless rose in arms, 
Her heart was proud and brave. 

Like ocean wave rush'd on her foes. 
Like ocean's barrier Scotland rose, 
And dashed them back and 'round them strews 
Their boasted chivalry. 

In freedom's cause she drew her brand, 
And freedom still has bless'd her land, 
And laurel crown'd she aye could stand, 
*Mid bravest of the brave. 

Even when her nobles did conspire, 
Chose England as their high umpire. 
Her gallant son she did inspire — 
Wallace of Ellerslie. 

Who, follow'd by a noble band. 
Defended well their native land ; 
And Cambuskenneth saw the stand 
They made for Scotland there. 

But envy ever doth pursue 
The brave, the faithful, and the true, 
And traitors base this hero slew, 
Whose arm they dare not brave. 



189 

Tho' Scotland mourn'd her hero slain, 
And prostrate seem'd, she rose amain, 
And under Bruce did freedom gain, 
As Bannockburn can tell. 

But though onr wars with England cease, 
And union brings the joys of peace ; 
Joys which may more and more increase, 
While time its course shall run ; 

Forget we not that patriot band. 
Midst blood aud death who raised the brand, 
And fought for freedom and the land 
Of Scotia brave and free. 

J. M. Aim. 
Sandwick, 6th January, 1857. 



LORDS OF THE GLEN. 

(From * Braemer Ballads,' by Professor BlackU.) 



O fair is the land, my own mountain land, 

Fit nurse for the brave and the free. 
Where the fresh breezes blow o'er the heath's purple glow, 
And the clear torrent gushes with glee I 

But woe's me, woe ! what dole and sorrow 
From this lovely land I borrow. 
When I roam, where the stump of stricken ash-tree 
Shows the spot where the home of the cotter should be^ 
And the cold rain drips, and the cold wind moans 
O'er the tumbled heaps of old grey stones, 
Where once a fire blazed free. 
For a blight has come down on the land of the mountain, 
The storm-nurtured pine, and the clear-gushing fountain. 
And the chieftains are gone, the kind lords of the glen, 
In the land that once swarmed with the brave Highlandmen I 



fair is the land, my own mountain land, 

Fit nurse for the brave and the free, 
Where the strong waterfall scoops the gray granite wall, 
'Neath the roots of the old pine tree ! 

But woe's for me, woe ! what dole and sorrow 

From this lovely land I borrow. 

When the long and houseless glen I tee. 

Where only the deer to range is free. 

And I think on the pride of tho dwindled clan, 

And tho home -nick heart of the brave Highlandmen ! 

Far tost on the billowy sea. 
For a blight has come down on the land of the mountain, 
The storm-nurtured pine, and the clear-gushing fountain, 
And the stalkers of deer keep their scouts in tho glen 
That once swarmed with the high-hearted bravo Highlandmen 1 



190 



III. 



O fair is the land, my own mountain land, 

Fit nurse for the brave and the free, 
Where the young river leaps down the sheer ledge, and sweeps 
With a full -flooded force to the sea ! 

But woe is me ! What dole and sorrow 
From this lovely land I borrow, 

When I think on the men that should father the clan, 
But who bartered the rights of the brave Highlaudman 
To the lordlings that live for the pleasure to kill 
The stag that roams free o'er the tenantless hill ; 
What care they for the brave Highlandman ? 
For a blight has come down on the land of the mountain, 
The storm-nurtured pine, and the clear gushing fountain, 
And vendors of game are the lords of the glen 
Wlio rule o'er the fair mountain land without men ! 



THE HIGHLAND EMIGRANTS. 

I 
Come away ! far away ! from the hills of bonnie Scotland 

Here no more may we linger on the mountain — in the glen — 
Come away ! Why delay ? far away from bonnie Scotland. 
Land of grouse, and not of heroes ! Land of sheep, and not of men ! 
Mighty hunters, for their pastime, 

Needing deserts in our shires. 
Turn to waste our pleasent places, 
Quench the smoke of cottage fires. 
Come away ! why delay ? Let us seek a home denied us, 
O'er the ocean's that divide us from the country of our sires. 

II. 
Come away ! far away ! from the river ; from the wild wood ; 

From the soil where our fathers lifted Freedom's broad claymore 
From the paths in the straths, that were dear to us in childhood ; 
From the kirk where love was plighted in the happy days of yore. 
Men and women have no value 

Where the Bruce and Wallace grew, 
And where stood the clansman's shieling 
There the red deer laps the dew. 
Come away ! far away ! But to thee, oh bonnie Scotland, 
Wheresoever we may wander shall our hearts be ever true. 



Far away ! far away ! in the light of other regions 

We shall prove how we love thee to our children yet unborn. 
Far away ! far away ! we shall teach them our allegiance 
To thy name and to thy glory, thou beloved, though forlorn. 
At recital of thy greatness 

Shall our warmest fervour swell ; 
On the story of thy sorrow 

Shall our fondest memories dwell. 
Far away ! why delay ? We are banished from our Scotland, 

From our own, our bonnie Scotland ! fare thee well ! oh ! fare thee well ? 

Charles McKay. 



191 

But I have here before me Lord Palmerston's scheme to raise men in 
the Highlands, and he makes himself sure it will succeed. I am now an 
old man, and I have read many wicked, stupid, and suicidal proposals, 
made by Statesmen, and schemes laid down before a discerning public, 
but as yet I aver that I never read a more stupid, suicidal, and uncon- 
stitutional, and surer of failing, than this one now before you, taken from 
Palmerston's own sweet organ, the London Morniny Post. I need not 
comment upon it. The Editor of the Northeini Ensign, a gentlemen who 
knows more of the Highlanders that any other Editor living, has done it 
ample justice. Palmerston, through his organ, the Moniing Post, Siiier 
prefacing the article, says : — " The East India Company wants men ; but 
how are these men to be obtained ? are they to be obtained by volunteer- 
ing, by increasing the bounty, or by the employment of foreign mer- 
cenaries ] He proceeds and says : — 

** We would i)urpose that the peasantry, the artizans, and the working 
classes of the three kingdoms, should be told that if they enlisted — during 
the troubles in India for instance — for a limited period, at the expiration 
of their services they would receive the same kind of treatment which has 
been extended to the German Legionaries — namely, a fi-ee jmssage to a 
BHtish Colony^ a respectable outjit, a jree grant of land, a house and no 
rent, and half pay for three years, the consideration being a few days' 
drill in the year, and permanent service in the case of some great emer- 
gency We believe that the Legislature of Canada would 

now cheerfully grant millions of acres of wild land of the provinces, to 
be distributed as rewards aniongt the soldiers of the British anny. New 
Brunswick and Nova Scotia would do the same. If Officers and Ser- 
geants at the present time engaged in the recruiting service, were enabled 
to tell those classes of men out of which the British army is raised, that 
at the termination of their service they would have a free passage to 
Canada, a free grant of land, and money enough to build a log house and 
to clear a small patch of land, we believe that there would be no dearth of 
recruits. This plan, we are persuaded, would be more effectual than 
increased bounty of double pay. If a system of military colonization can 
be adopted for the special benefit of a few lucky German soldiers, let the 
same experiment, we say, be tried for the general benefit of the British 
army." 

This scheme, attractive enough at first-sight, is the most positively 
suicidal which it is possible to propose. Let any sensible, patriotic man 
ponder it well, in its bearings and results, and we feel assured liis very 
blood will rise within him when he thinks of it. Why, its issue must 
ultimately l>e to draw the main strength of the country out of it. Just 
think of 20,000 militia men, dmwn from * the peasantry, the artizans, and 
the working men of the three kingdoms,* serving 'for a limited })eriod/ 
and then sent off to enjoy the fruits of their servitude in a distant colony 
— just think of this sage proposal being regularly and periodically carried 
out, and where would the bone and sinew of our national strength be in a 
quarter of a century 1 Toiling away in the * free land ' of Australia, or 
hewing down the forests of Canada. 



192 

We humbly submit to Lord Palinerston and the Mormu.fj Post, a far 
more likely and satisfactory method of obtaining militia. There are hun- 
dreds of thousands of acres, capable of improvement, but lying in waste 
and inutility over the Highlands of Scotland. There are in the imme- 
diate neighborhood tens of thousands of inhabitants, living in poverty and 
social discomfort, because deprived of the exercises of their industrial ener- 
gies, and otherwise prevented from rising in the scale of social beings. 
Well. There are among these many thousands of young men capable of 
bearing arms, as the shores of Caithness recently testified, and whose 
fathei-s and grandfathers fought and died in their country *s service ; but 
who now moodily refuse to lift a weapon in the same service. To these 
the offer of a hundred, fifty, or even ten acres of land in the Highlands to 
each man, with Government security of Tenure, should they pay reasona- 
ble rent for it, would be a stimulant which Palmerston, or his aristocratic 
colleagues never took into consideration. Any other decoyment will most 
assuredly fail ; for we can tell Lord Palmerston the brightest jewels in 
Britain's crown would not awake the scintillation of an enthusiastic glance; 
but we most surely believe that could Lord Palmerston prevail on certain 
Whig Dukes and Lords to alter their treatment of their tenantry, and 
abrogate the policy that is rapidly making the north and north-west of 
Scotland a prodigious deer forest, there would soon be no fear of raising 
militia by the thousand. 

If, for example, the Duke of Sutherland, the husband of ' the most 
influential woman in Europe/ were to preclaim from the Meikle Ferry to 
Cape Wrath, that the Loch policy is to cease for ever; that the long desolate 
Straths of Sutherland are to be peopled ; that the humblest tenant in the 
county is to be treated to a lease on favorable terms; and that men are to 
be henceforth preferred to sheep and deer, we verily believe there would 
be kindled in that county an amount of enthusiasm which it never before 
witnessed, and which would issue in the raising of such a number of 
recruits as would astonish even the versatile aud sanguine premier 
himself. 

And were a like change to be heralded over the whole Highlands of 
Scotland, a corresponding result would most surely follow. We assure the 
Morning Post that it would be a far more effectual and nationally bene- 
ficial method of defending Britain than casting out the bait of grants of 
land on foreign shores, and tempting men to fight for a country they 
are destined to leave. A thousand times rather let the government buy 
up the myriads of profitless acres at home, give presents of a correspond- 
ing quantity of colonial land to the absentee lands, along with a free 
passage, and give the land at home as a present to recruits, than allow 
them first to enrol, and then pack them off as felons to Botany Bay. The 
fact is, the home country stands in need of such men, instead of requiring 
them to emigrate ; and we see no scheme half so likely to rear a race of 
invincibles, than restoring to the people the land from which they have 
been cruelly driven, and evicting those droves of deer that will very soon 
have their head-quarters within a stone-throw of the largest towns, if the 
present mania continue to influence many purblind and selfish landlords of 



193 

the Highlands and Islands. The country can want most of its Highland 
lairds, but it can not safely wsyit its Highland inhabitants. — Northern 
Ejisif/n. 

What do you think of my Lord Palmerston ? He in the spirit of aris- 
tocratic liberality will allow the British soldiers equal benefits allowed 
German mercenaries ; yes. my Lord, and if they do not enrol themselves 
upon these conditions, send the press gang, and the ballot box among them, 
handcuff the stubborn fellows, and force them to swear by God to fight 
for the East India Company, that they may retain the monopoly of the 
trade of that boundless territory, and charge what prices they please for 
the j)roduce; a fac simile of how the unmeasurable territories of valuable 
land in the north-west of Canada \yere handed over to the Hudson Bay 
Company, to enrich a few villians who can keep up the price of skins 
and fur, that the working, or producing classes, to whom those terri- 
tories belong, cannot purchase tliem, hence deprived of the comfort 
and pleasures of wearing them. But where is there a British soldier 
to be found who will not frown and spit with disgust upon such 
propositions, and audacious comparisons ; yes, British soldiers, and 
German beggars and cowards, to be equally rewarded, and where 
is a British young man to be found, who is as yet a freeman, who 
will volunteer to risk his life to fight savages, among the i)estilence, 
and venomous emanations of India, with no better prospect before him 
than, that should he escape the sword of the Mahomedan, and Juggernaut 
savage, and plagues of India, on his returnthome to be packed off to the 
wilds of Canada to cut wood during the remainder of his life, or perish 
unprovided and uncared for. Monstrous sophistry, my Lord Palmerston; 
you may get German mercenaries, as you call them, and town keelies and 
desperadoes to fill up your ranks, and manure the j)lains of India U])on 
such conditions, but not Highland, high-minded Scotchmen, and God 
knows that the British nation has too many German paupers already sad- 
dled upon them to feed and clothe, without bringing Legions of the 
beggarly lowest order upon them to feed and clothe. The fact is, if I am 
not misinformed, England will soon have the whole of that nursery 
or kennel of Princes to keep up altogether. Britain had to pay the 
king of Hanover £21,000 salary a year, it is said that was 3s. 9id. more 
than his own nation could afford to allow him. Then our own beloved 
sovereign, whose hand any emperor or prince in Europe would be proud 
to obtain unconditionally ; yet Britain had to negotiate with the house of 
Saxe Coburg and Gotha, and settle £30,000 per year upon one of that 
family to become her husband ; not content with this, he was raised to the 
rank and full pay of field mar8hall,and colonel of two or three regiments so 
that his income can figure no less than sixty or seventy thousand |)ounds 
sterling per year, besides, as T am told £37,000 to build stables for his 
hoi-ses, £1 r),0()0 to build a kennel for his dogs, a square to break and train 
them, and dwelling houses for their kooi)er8, without any resi>onsibilitie8 
on his part, whether he was competent to discharge the duties of his 
various offices or not. We have now a young Princess, I l)elieve the love- 
liest and most enticing creatura living; another hungry German Prince 

N 



194 

smelled the delicious pie, and by some means or another managed to pay 
his passage to Dover, and it is said that a Government agent paid £2 16s. 
sterling for his railway fare from Dover to London to meet his spark. It 
is now said that he has agreed to marry our lovely Princess on condition 
that she gets £50,000 to fit her out, and that he gets £41,000 annually 
during her life, to take care of her, and if she should die^ and leave a 
family, that suitable provisions should be made to maintain them. 

Then we have other four lovely Princesses, should they arrive at the 
age of matrimony, as I hope they will, they must be divided economically 
among German Princes upon similar terms no doubt. The short and the 
long of it is, that should the producing classes of Britain have no more 
taxes to pay than what is required to keep up Germans and their brood 
of the high order, that other nations would consider it enormous, leaving 
the expenses of the Legions out of view. Some may say, that I lost sight 
of my text, " Highland Depopulation,^^ yet by looking narrowly into the 
affair, you will find them closely connected ; robbery is robbery by what 
ever way it is perpetrated, or committed ; those who rob the nation of 
their money, and squanders it away upon other nations, are to a certain 
extent as guilty as those who depopulated the nation, and disperses 
her hones and sinews to the four winds of heaven, but not so bad. The 
former party are draining the nation of the blood and sinews of commerce, 
hence short-sighted and mischievous, yet a nation may redeem themselves 
from the disasters which their wicked, foolish, profligate, and prodigal 
Government bring upon them in this way. But the latter party drains 
away blood and sinews of infinitely more value, and are satanic in the 
extreme, they do all they can to destroy the very paladium of the nation, 
which, if once destroyed can never be redeemed — 



•* Bold peasantry their country's pride, 
Once destroyed can never be supplied." 



There are many damnatory features in their schemes and conduct that 
are not to be found in the schemes and conduct of any other class of men 
under heaven ; it is not the millions of brave, patriotic, and industrious 
people they have banished or expelled from Britain, the only injury they 
have done and are doing to the nation, they have beggared the rest by 
forcing the peasantry to manufacturing towns, where vice and crime are 
in the ascendency ; they have glutted the labour market, so that the work- 
ing classes are entirely at the mercy of employers who can take advantage 
of every casualty of the season, of every stagnation in trade, and in the 
money market, so that they can keep the poor workers continually on 
starvation wages. They do still worse, if that could be, they destroy the 
confidence which should exist between the government and the governed, 
they are alienating the minds of the loyal lieges so far, that in a few years, 
if matters continue to go on as they do, it is to be feared that the peasantry 
and working classes need not care much who will govern them, Napoleon, the 
Czar, thefooltyrantof Austriaor our lovely and exemplary Victoria. They 
have done still worse and worse, they have undermined the Gospel of Sal- 
vation, they have filled the age we are in with sceptics, infidels, and athe- 



195 

ists who can stand now before even the sceptic himself, and defend Chris- 
tianity and maintain that God is just, holy, and impartial ; he will tell you 
at once, how can you prove that when he is always on the side of the 
strong and the rich, and never interferes in behalf of the poor masses nor 
aideth them, however much they are trodden down and robbed by the rich ; 
and when the masses will withstand their robbing rich, and demand even 
a portion of their just rights, he is always against them, and will allow 
the rich and their tools to hew them down with sabres, and blow them 
to atoms with cannons and bombshells. These, and such are the arguments 
the sceptic, infidel, and atheist, will advance ; but to say the least, this class 
in view, abetted by the clergy, who reversed every provision God made 
for his people, and abused the power placed in their hands, I say has done 
more injury to the cause of Christ, and Christianity in the world, than all 
his avowed enemies could have done. What think you, a friend 
of mine, on whose veracity I can place confidence, was ti-a veiling 
in the West Highlands, and spent some days in the Isle of Skye, one 
day came upon a party of women who were cutting down and col- 
lecting heather; he stood a short time speaking to them, when on a 
sudden a party of gentlemen appeared upon the top of a ridge of hills 
a very short distance from the heather gatherers, and were soon among 
them with their dogs and guns ; the poor women had by this time had their 
creels, or baskets filled, he who seemed to be the chief the gang, asked 
haughtily, " what are you cutting and taking away the heather for?" the 
reply was, "please your Honour, Ix)rd Macdonald, to bed our cows, to pre- 
pare manure for our potatoes." In an instant the monster was engaged 
in tramping the creels to atoms, scattering the heather, breaking the hooks 
or scythes, and with a face more like an enraged demon than a lord, told 
the poor women to go to hell for beds to their cows, and manure for their 
potatoes, if they chose, but if they would dare to take away any of his 
gix)U8e*s food that he would shoot every one of them ; one of them said, 
trembling, " Oh, my Lord, we are paying rent for this hill," he took up 
his gun to a level and swore that he would shoot her if she said another 
word ; the poor creature let herself down among the heather ; his Lordship 
and party left, went about a hundred yards, halted, consulted a minute, 
turned round, levelled their pieces at the women, and bawled out, " you 
^-ill be all shot in a minute ; " the i)Oor creatures then ran for their lives, 
which seemed to afford his Lords/tip and his party of English gents much 
amusement. The liendish lord's grandsires at one period of our Scottish 
history disputed the crowji of Scotland with no other aid but his own clan, 
now he would not get twenty followers, should that numlwr gain the crown 
of England for him; you speak, McLeod, not without a cause, of the poverty, 
deterioration, and subjugation of the Sutherlanders, and the tyranny of 
their Lords, but here is the ultra beyond description, and thi* poor animal 
himself is drowned in debt, every inch of his estates are encumbered, 
and it would be Vmt justice should he die a wretched mendicant. 

I have made many quotations from many e.xcellent men for various 
reasons — I take to myself the credit, and I believ« none will dispute it 
with me, I say the credit of breaking the ice before them all, that in bring 



196 

ing the short-sighted policy of the clearing system, with its direful con- 
comitant results before the world ; but I knew, and do know myself 
to be a poor man, and however sincere and indefatigable I was and am 
in the cause, that there is not much credence given to what a poor man 
may write, say, or do — " a poor man saved a city but no notice was taken 
of him because he was a poor man," — Ecles, chap. 9, v. xv ; yet it is a last- 
ing consolation for me to know that men of piety, talent, affluence and influ- 
ence made a searching inquiry, and investigated my statement, and found 
thembeyondcontradiction — indeed more modified and short of what should 
be told. Many consultations were held by Sutherland factors and sheep 
farmers to consider whether I should be prosecuted or not ; but knowing 
that they had truth to contend Avith in taking legal steps against me — the 
resolution that I was so insignificant and poor that few if any would believe 
what 1 was writing always carried the majority, and poor Donald was per- 
mitted to proceed with impunity. Silence was considered by my enemies 
the best policy; but tl^ey had to be silent since before the world when 
attacked and exposed by men of high standing in Society, whose afflu- 
ence and influence put them beyond suspicion of telling ridiculous false 
stories, as laid to my charge by Mrs. Stowe. Annexed is an extract 
taken from a sermon preached by an English divine, I wish to God 
many more of his order would follow his example. What prompted 
this man of God, whom I know personally, to come out on such 
a theme as this 1 That his Divine Master demanded it of his hand,. 
to denounce the oppressors of the poor. He preached the sermon 
first ; afterwards he was told that the statements were controverted — he 
then corrsn^nded with Professor Black, and finding that it was not the 
case, he preached the same sermon over again with emphasis not to be 
disregarded. 

' A Sermon for the Times,' lately preached by the Rev. Eichard 
Hibbs, Church of England clergyman, Edinburgh, contains the follow- 
ing exposure of Highland depopulation : — 

" Take then, at first, the awful proof how far in oppression men can go — 
men highly educated and largely gifted in every way — property, talents,. 
all ; for the most part, indeed, they are so-called noblemen. What, then, 
are they doing in the Highland districts, according to the testimony of 
a learned professor in this city % Why, depopulating those districts in 
order to make room for red deer. And how] by buying off the cottars, 
and giving them money to emigrate? Not at all, but by starving them 
out ; by rendering them absolutely incapable of procuring subsistence 
for themselves and families ; for they first take away from them their 
small apportionments of poor lands, although they may have paid their 
rents ; and if that do not suffice to eradicate from their hearts that love 
of the soil on which they have been born and bred — a love which the 
great Proprietor of all has manifestly implanted in our nature — why, 
then, these inhuman landlords, who are far more merciful to their very 
beasts, take away from these poor cottars the very roofs above their 
defenceless heads, and expose them, worn down with age and destitute 



197 

of everything, to the inclemencies of a northern sky ; and this, forsooth, 
because they must have plenty of room for their dogs and deer. For 
plentiful instances of the most wanton barbarities under this head we 
need only point to the Knoidart evictions. Here were perpetrated such 
enormities as might well have caused the very sun to hide his face at 
noonday." 

It has been intimated to me by an individual who heard this dis- 
course on the first occasion that the statements referring to the Highland 
landlords have been controverted. I was well aware long before the 
receipt of this intimation, that some defence had appeared ; and here I 
can truly say, that none would have rejoiced more than myself to find 
that a complete vindication had been made. But, unhappily; the case is 
far otherwise. In order to be fully acquainted with all that had passed 
on the subject, I have put myself during the week in communication 
with the learned professor to whose letter which appeared some months 
ago in the 7'imes, I referred. From him I leahi t^t none of his state- 
ments were invalidated — nay, not even impugned ; and he adds, that to 
do this was simply impossible, as he had been at great pains to \'erify 
the facts. All tliat could l>e called in question was the theory that he had 
based upon these facts — namely, that evictions were made for the pur- 
jx)se of making room for more deer. This, of course, was ojxin to con- 
tradiction on the part of those landlords who had not openly avowed 
their object in evicting the poor Highland families. As to the evictions 
themselves — and tliis was the main point — no attempt, at contradiction 
was nuide. • 

But in addition to all that the benevolent professor has n^lTOo known 
to the civilized world under this head, who has not heard of 'The mas- 
sacre of the Rosses, and the clearing of the glens 1 I hold in my hand a 
little work thus entitled, which has passed into the second edition. The 
author is Mr Donald Ross— a gentleman wliom all who feel sympathy 
for the downtrodden and oppressed must highly esteem. What a humi- 
liating picture of the barbarity and cruelty of fallen humanity does this 
little book present ! The reader, utterly appalled by its horrifying state- 
ments, finds it difficult to retain the recollection that he is perusing the 
history of his own times and country too. He would fain yield himself 
to the tempting illusion, that the ruthless atrocities which are depicted 
were enacted in a fabulous period, in ages long piist ; or, at all events, 
if it be contemporaneous history, that the scene of such heart rending 
cruelties, tlie perpetratoi-s of which were regartUess alike of the inno- 
cency of infancy and the helplessness of old age, in some far tlistant, and 
■as yet not njerely unchristiani/ed, but wholly savage and uncivilized 
region of our globe. But, alas ! it is Scotland in the latter half of the 
nineteenth century, of which he treats. One feature of tlio heart- 
harrowing case is the shocking and barbarous cruelty that was practised 
on this occasion upon the Jhnaie portion of the evicted clan. Mr. D. 
Ross, in a letter addressed to the Right Hon. the Loixl Advocate, Kdin- 
burgh, dated April 19, 1854, thus writes in reference to one of those 
•clearances and evictions which had just then taken place under the 



198 

authority of a certain Sheriff of the district, and by means of a body of 
policemen as executioners : — * The feeling on this subject, not only in 
the district, but in SutherJandshire and Ross-shire is, among the great 
majority of the people, one of universal condemnation of the Sheriff's 
reckless conduct, and of indignation and disgust at the brutality of the 
policemen. Such, indeed, was the sad havoc made on these females on 
the banks of the Carron, on the memorable 31st March last, that pools 
of blood were on the ground — that the grass and earth were dyed red 
with it — that the dogs of the district came and licked up the blood ; and 
at last, such was the state of feeling of parties who went from a distance 
to see the field, that a party (it is understood by order or instructions 
from head-quarters) actually harrowed the ground during the night to 
hide the blood !' 

These things were brouglit to light during the recent war with Russia ; 
who can marvel at the sympathising author thus expressing himself,, 
when concluding the astonishing account — 

'The affair at Greenyard, on the morning of the 31st March last, is 
not calculated to inspire much love of country, or rouse the martial spirit 
of the already ill-usod Highlanders, The savage treatment of innocent 
females on that morning, by an enraged body of police, throws the 
Sinope butchery into the shade ; for the Ross-shire Haynaus have shown 
themselves more cruel and more blood-thirsty than the Austrian women- 
floggers. What could these poor men and women, with their wounds, 
and scars, and broken bones, and disjointed arms, stretched on beds of 
sickness, or moving on crutches, the result of the brutal treatment of 
them by the police at Greenyard, have to dread from the invasion of 
Scotland by Russia V 

' What, indeed,'? echo back these depopulated glens. 

But enough of the subject of clearances and evictions, of which we 
had not originally intended to say so much. A regard, however, to the 
interests of truth and humanity, which we are sure is the cause of God, 
of God even the Father and Redeemer of all, as revealing Himself in 
our Lord Jesus Christ, has constrained us to notice these things thus far. 

The publications of Mr Ross are recommended to all who may desire 
further information on this subject. But as concerning the signs of the 
times upon M'hich we are discoursing, do not these atrocities, viewed too 
as complimentary of the Knoidart evictions, demonstrate that we are 
now in the last time, at the end of the age, when, from the beginning of 
it, it was prophetically declared that ' men shall be lovers of their own 
selves,' utterly regardless of what others may suffer thereby. 

This murderous affair at Greenyard, of which the reverend gentleman 
spoke, was so horrifying and so brutal that I think no wonder at his 
delicacy in speaking of it, and directing his hearers to peruse Mr. Ross's 
pamj)hlet for full information. Mr. Ross went from Glasgow to Green- 
yard, Ross-shire, to investigate the case on the spot, and found that Mr. 
Taylor, a native of Sutherland, (well educated in eviction schemes and 
murderous cruelty of that county) and Sheriff substitute of Ross-shire, 
marched from Tain upon the morning of the 31st March at the head of 



199 

a strong party of armed constables, with heavy bludgeons and fire anus, 
conveyed in carts and otlier vehicles, allowing them as much ardent drink 
as they chose to take before leaving and upon their march, so as to qualify 
them for the bloody work they had to perform. Fit for any outi-age, fully 
equipped, and told by the Sheriff to shew no mercy to any one who 
would oppose them, aud not allow themselves to be called cowards, 
by allowing these mountaineers victory over them. In this excited half 
drunk state they came in contact with the unfortunate women of Green- 
yard, who were determined to prevent the officers from serving the sum- 
mons of removal upon them, and keep their holding of small fanus 
where they and their forefathers lived and died for generations. But no 
time was allowed to parley ; the Sheriff gave the order to clear the way, 
and be it said to his everlasting disgrace (but to the credit of the county 
of Sutherland) that he struck the first blow at a woman, the mother of 
a large family, and large in the family way at the time, who tried to 
keep him back, then a general slaughter commenced, the women made 
noble resistance, until the bravest of them got their arms broken, then 
they gave way. This did not allay the rage of the murderous brutes, 
they contined clubbing at the protectless creatures until every one of 
them was stretched on the field wallowing in their blood, or with broken 
amis, riV)s, and bruised limbs ; m this woeful condition many of them 
were handcuffed together, others tied with coai*se ropes, huddled into 
cai-ts and carried prisoners to Tain jail. I have seen myself in the pos- 
session of Mr. Ross, Glasgow, patches or scalps of the skin with the long 
hair adhering to them, which was found upon the field a few days after 
this inhuman affray. I did not see the women, but 1 was told that 
gashes were found on the heads of two young females prisoners in Tain 
jail, which exactly corresponded with these slices or scalps I have 
seen, so that Sutherland and Ross-shire may boast of having the Nena 
Sahibs and his Chiefs some few years before India, and that in the \wt- 
sons of some whose education, training, and parental example should 
prejjare their minds to perform and act differently. Mr. Donald Ross 
placed the whole affair before the I^ord Advocate for Scotlsnd, but no 
notice was taken of it by that functionary, any further than that the 
majesty of the law would need to be observed and attended to. 

In this unfortunate country, you see the law of God and humanity 
may be violated and trampled under foot, but the law of wicked men 
which sanctions murder, rapine and robbery must be observed. From 
the same estate, (the estate of Robinson of Kindeas, if I am not mistak(*n 
in the date) in the year 1843 the whole inhabitants of Glencalve were 
evicted in a similar manner, and so unprovided and unprepared were 
they for lemoval at such an inclement season of the ye-ar, that they had 
to shelter themselves in a Church yard, or burying ground. I have seen 
myself nineteen families within this gloomy and solitjiry nesting alnxie of 
the dead ; they were there for months. The London Timf^ sent a com- 
missioner direct from London to investigate into [this case, and he did 
his duty ; but like the Sutherland cases, it was huslnnl up in order to 
maintain the majesty of the law, and in order to keep the right, the 
majesty of the people and the laws of God in the dark. 



200 

In the year 1819 or 20, about the time when the depopulation of 
Sutherlandshire was completed, and the annual conflagration of burn- 
ing the houses ceased, and when there was not a glen or strath in the 
country to let to a sheep farmer, one of these insatiable monsters of 
Sutherlandshire sheep farmers fixed his eyes upon a glen in Ross-shire, 
inhabited by a brave, hardy race from time immemorial. Summons of 
removal were served upon them at once. The people resisted — a mili- 
tary force was brought against them — the military and the women of 
the glen met at the entrance to the glen — a bloody conflict took place, 
without reading the riot act or taking any other precaution, the military 
fired (by the order of Sheriff' McLeod) ball cartridge upon the women ; 
one young girl of the name of Matheson was shot dead on the spot, many 
were woundad. When this murder was observed by the survivors, and 
some young men concealed in the back ground, they made a heroic sud- 
den rush upon the military, when a hand to hand melee or tight took 
place. In a few minutes the military were put to disorderly flight ; in 
their retreat they were unmercifully dealt with, only two of them escaped 
with heal heads. The Sheriff^s coach was smashed to atoms, and he 
made a narrow escape himself with a heal head. But no legal cogniz- 
ance was taken of this affair, as the Sheriff" and the military were the 
violators. However, for fear of prosecution, the Sheriff" settled a pension 
of £6 sterling yearly upon the murdered girl's father, and the case was 
hushed up likewise. The result was that the people kept possession of 
the glen, and that the proprietor, and the oldest and most insatiable of 
Sutherlandshire scourges went to law, which ended in the ruination of 
the latter, who died a pauper. 

To detail individual murders, suff"erings and oppression in the High- 
lands of Scotland would be an endless work. A few months ago a letter- 
from Donald Sutherland, farmer, West Zorra, Canada West, appeared in 
the Woodstock Seutiue/, detailing what his father and family suff'ered at 
the hands of the Sutherlandshire landlords ; all the offence his father 
was guilty of was, that he along with others w^ent and remonstrated 
with the house burners, and made them desist until the people could 
remove their families and chattels out of their houses ; for this off"ence 
he would not be allowed to remain upon the estate. He took shelter 
with his family under the roof of his father-in-law, fi-om this abode 
he was exi)elled, and his father-in-law made a narrow escape from 
sharing the same fate for affording him shelter. He was thus persecuted 
from one parish to another, until ultimately another proprietor, Skibo, 
took pity upon him, and permitted him in the beginning of an extraordi- 
nary stormy winter, to build a house in the middle of a bog or swamp, 
during the building of which, he having no assistance, his family being 
all young, and far from his friends, and having all materials to carry on 
his back the stance of his new house being inaccessible by horses or 
carts, he, poor fellow, fell a victim to cold and fever, and a combination 
of other troubles, and died before the house was finished, leaving a 
widow and six fatherless children in this half-finished hut, in the middle 
of a swamp, to the mercy of the world. Well might Donald Suther- 



•JO I 

land, who was the oldest of tlie family, and who recollects what his 
father suffered, and of his death, (I say), charge the Sutherland family 
and their tools with the murder of his father. 

But many were the liundreds who suffered alike and died similar 
deaths in Sutherlandshire during the wholesale evictions and house 
burninn^s of Sutherlandshire. But I must now cease to unpack my heart 
upon these revolting scenes and gloomy memories. I know many will 
say that I have dealt too hard with the house of Sutherland, — that such 
disclosures as I have made cannot be of any public service — that the 
present Duke of Sutherland is a good man, and that in England he is 
called the Good Duke. I have in my own unvarnished way broujjht t<> 
light a great amount of inhumanity, foul unconstitutional and barbarous 
atrocities, committed and perpetrated in his name, and in the name of 
his parents, and by their authority. 1 stand by these as stern facts. Now 
I call upon his Grace's and predecessors' sympathisers and apologisei-s to 
say and point out to nje one public or private act performed by any of 
the family which should entitle his present Grace to be called the Good 
Duke. I have myself looked earnestly and impartially for such acts ; but 
could find none, no, not one. I know he never killed or even struck a 
man or women in his lifetime, nor set tire to a house where a bedridden 
woman was lying disabled by age and intirmities to escape from the 
flames, he needed not while (as I said before) Loch, Young, Sellar, Suther, 
Ounn, Leslie, Horsburg, and Maclvor, were ap])ointed by him to 
advise and superintend the work of brutal destruction and while the 
Stobbs and Sgrioses, «tc. were at their beck to execute their orders at 
2s. 6d. sterling per day and their whiskey. The Duke's unassuming, 
modest, and sheepish like appearance will not entitle him to the apj>ela- 
tion of the Good Duke ; neither will his meek, easily approached man- 
ners, and readiness to hear poor people's complaints entitle him to the 
title — for 1 demand of you to point one complaint of any importance 
which he redn-ssed, and I will give you and him credit for it. The 
poor never realized any relief, nor beneHt from his interpositions, or from 
the thousand appeals they made to him ; but tlie reverse left them 
more exposed to the wrath and fury of their oppressors, his factoi's. 

What then constitutes his right to the appelation of the Good Duke. I 
admit that the is not so inhuman, nor so brutal a savage as Lord Macdonald, 
Duke of At hoi, Breadalbane, Colonel Gordon, of Clunny, and many more 
Highland landlords, but that does not constitute the appelation good Duke : 
to be more human than these would make him only a little l>ett«r than 
incdttiate (lenwns or an host of Nena tSti/ubs. My views of rights of 
property in land are open to criticism; I wish they may l)e criticised, and 
that properly, for I find that under that cui-scd law whicli affords every 
opportunity to stupid kings and queens, their selfish ambitious govern 
ment, and profligate avaricious favourites and capitalistw in the days of 
old, to monopolize tlie land, created by God for the people without excep- 
tion, are now in full operation in the Canadas ; I find your government 
handing large slices of the Cana<la lands over to one another, and to 
favourite individuals and companies, as free as Malcolm Ceanmor, King of 



202 

Scotland, handed estates to his favourites in the tenth century, in his own 
word, " as free as God gave it to nie and mine, I give it to you and yours." 
But my Canadian readers the days are coming and approaching when there 
will be a scramble for laud in the Canadas, as sure as it was and is in all 
European nations, and I tell you that this is the age and years, when 
you should enquire and study the rights of property in land; particularly 
what right has your own servants, tJie Government^ to gift or traffic with 
monopolisers in your land, and what right have you to abide by the traffic- 
ing covenants of stupid kings and queens, and insane Governments who 
deprive you and your offspring of such immense territories as the Hudson 
Bay Company now possess. Let it not be recorded that the Canadians of the 
19th century will allow the egregious spoliation to continue or remain un- 
corrected, yea^ undemolished, for while it remains undemolished minor 
spoliations will increase ; indeed to all appearance there are very few who 
are entrusted with the law making and government of the Canadas, who 
entereitherof the Houses with that patriotic spirit which should constitute 
members of parliament. It is to be feared, indeed it is too evident, that sel- 
fishness, and how to better themselves and relations at the people's expense 
are their motives and principle study while acting for the people. I say, 
O ! Canadians watch and look, as well as pray, generations yet unborn 
demand it of you. 

Mrs. Harriet Beecher Sto we may be very ill-pl eased at my animadversions, 
and may consider that I went too far with my strictures upon her Sunny 
Memories. '' Those to whom much are given much will be required of 
them ;" I have no priva.te spleen or animosity against that amiable, talented 
lady, but I could nor cannot be but sorry for her merchandising the 
gift of God ; will that lady, however great her talents are, come out now 
in the face of such a cloud of witnesses, and corroborating evidence as she 
will find within this little volume and say and maintain that I have been 
circulating unfounded false accusations against the Duchess and house of 
Sutherland ; well let her peruse the following from the pen of Mr. Mackie, 
Editor of the Northeiii Ensign^ a paper published next county to Suther- 
land, and say what praise she can lavish upon that family. 

WELL DONE, BRAVE HIGHLANDS. 

(From the Northern Ensign.) 

There is not a man in the civilized world who does not admire the energy 
daring, perseverence and bravery of the glorious 78th, in their victorious 
march against the Indian mutineers. Every official dispatch and every 
private letter concur in proclaiming that those 'brave Highlanders' have 
not only done their duty, and done it well, but have given another proof 
to the world of the value of such troops in circumstances of crisis and peril. 
Even General Havelock, tied down by military and official restraint, seems 
to have thrown aside reserve, and to have exclaimed, in the hearing of his 
gallant companions in arms, 'Well done, brave Highlanders!' The country 
re-echoes the cry. It is heard from the Himalaya Mountains to the Gulf 
of Manaar, and strikes terror in the breasts of the fiendish revolters. It is 



203 

heard in every hamlet in the British Isles. The press and the platform 
catch the echo, and with giant tone swell the strain, * well done, bi-ave 
Highlanders' have called forth such eulogistic exclamaiion. Even Na|K)- 
leon himself, as he saw the phalanx of Scotch Greys at the hattle of Water- 
loo, could not resist a similar tribute; and the despatches of the Peninsular 
and other wars, down to the recent Crimean campaign, where Alma, Bala- 
clava, and Inkerman were fought testify to the same. All modern warlike 
history, from the reljel lion in 1715 to the Cawnpore massacre in 1857, 
teems with the record of Highland bravery and prowess. What say our 
highland evicting lairds to these facts, and to their treatment of the High- 
lander '? What reward have these men received for saving their country, 
fighting its battles, conquering its enemies, turning the tide of revolt, rescu- 
ing women and children from the hands of Indian fiends, and establishing 
order whendisorderand bloody cruelty have held their murderous carnival J 
And, we ask, in the name of men who have, ere now, we fondly hoi)e, saved 
our gallant countrymen and heroic countrywoman at Lucknow ; in the 
name of those who fought in the trenches of Sebastopool.and proudly plant- 
ed the British standard on the heights of the Alma, how are they, their 
fathers, brothers, and little ones treated? Is the mere shuttlecocking of an 
irrepressible cry of admiration from mouth to mouth, and the setting to 
music of a song in their praise, all the return the race is to get for such 
noble acts? We can fancy the expression of admiration of Highland bra- 
very at the Dunrobin dinner table, recently, when the dukes, earls, lords, 
and other aristocratic notables enjoyed princely hospitality of the Duke. 
We can imagine the mutual congratulation of the IJighland lairds as they 
prided themselves on being proprietors of the soil which gave birth to the 
race of 'Highland heroes. ' Alas, for the blush that would cover their faces 
if they would allow themselves to reflect that in their names, and by their 
authority, and at their expense, the fathers, mothers, brothers, wives, of 
the invincible * 78th ' have been remorselessly driven from their native soil , 
and at the very hour when Cawnpore was gallantly retaken, and the 
ruflian Nena Sahib was obliged to leave the bloody scene of his fiendish 
massacre, there were Highlanders within a few miles of the princely Dun- 
robin, driven from their homes and left to starve and to die in the open 
field. Alas, for the blush that would reprint its scarlet dye on their proud 
faces as they thought in one country alone, since Waterloo was fought, 
more than 14,000 of this 'race of heroes,' of whom Canning so proudly 
lK)asted, have been hunted out of their native homes; and that where the 
pibroch and bugle once evoked the martial 8|)irit of thousands of bravo 
hearts, razed and burning cottages have formed the tragic close of scenes of 
eviction and desolation ; and the abodes of a loyal and liberty-loving people 
are made sacred to the rearing of sheep, and sanctified to the preservation 
of game ! Yes; we echo back the cry, * Well done brave Highlanders!' 
But to what purpose would it be carried on the wings of the wind to the 
once happy straths and glens of Sutherland 1 Who, what, would echo 
back our acclaims of praise 1 Perhaps a shepherd's or a gillie's child, 
playing amid the unbroken wilds, and innocent of seeing a human face 
but that of its own parents, would hear it; or the cry might startle a herd 



204 

of timid deer, or frighten a covey of patridges, or call forth a bleat from a 
herd of slieep ; but men would not, could not, liear it. We must cjo to the 
back-woods of Canada, to Detroit, to Hamilton, to Woodstock, to Toronto, 
to Montreal ; we must stand by the waters of Lake Huron, or Lake Ontario, 
where the cry — ' Well done, brave Highlanders !' would call up a thousand 
brawny fellows, and draw down a tear on a thousand manly cheeks. Or 
we must go to the bare rocks that skirt the sea coast of Sutherland, where 
the residuary population were (jenerovslij treated to barren steeps and in- 
hospital shores on which to keep up the breed of heroes, and fight for tho 
men who dared — dared — to drive them from houses for which they fought, 
and from land which was purchased with the blood of their fathers. But 
the cry, * Well done, brave Highlanders,' would evoke no effective response 
from the race. Need the reader wonder ? Wherefore should they tight 1 
To what ])nrpose did their fathers climb the Peninsular heights, and glori- 
ously write in blood the superiority of Britain, when their sons were re- 
warded by extirpation, or toleration to starve, in sight of fertile straths and 
glens devoted to beasts I These are words of truth and soberness. They 
are but repetitions in other forms of arguments, employed by us for 
years ; and we shall continue to ring changes on them so long as our brave 
Highland people are subjected to treatment to which no other race would 
have submitted. We are no alarmists. But we tell Highland proprietors 
that were Britain some twenty years hence to have the misfortune to be 
l^lunged into such a crisis as the present, there will be few such men as the 
Highlanders of the 78th to fight her battles, and that the country will find 
when too late, if another policy towards the Highlanders is not adopted, 
that sheep and deer, ptarmigan and grouse, can do little to save it from 
such a calamity. 

EVICTION BY FIRE IN SUTHERLA.ND. 

Once more has the fire been kindled in Sutherland, to carry out the 
exterminating theories of the Loch policy. Confessing most heartily that 
notwithstanding all the antecedents of that system in Sutherland, we are 
not prepared for this recent case, we proceed to lay before our readers its 
leading facts : — 

"It will be remembered that on the 7th of June last an industrious cottar 
named Don Murray, with his aged sister, and two little motherless girls were 
ejected from the hut which they had occu])ied for many years. After lying 
for sometimes in the o])en air, the Rev. Mr. MacKellar, parish minister of 
Clyne, gave them the use of a cart shed, which they continued to occupy 
from the date of eviction till Saturday the 17th of this month, their little 
bits of furniture meanwhile lying in the open air. In the meantime it 
Avas found that the Duke of Sutherland had no right to the cot from which 
Murray and his family were ejected ; and that it stood on glebe land, and 
a case was entered in the Court of Session. Acting under advice, Murray 
and his family ag§iin took possession of the hut, along with part of their 
furnituie, on the date referred to, and immediately on this being done the 
machinery was set in order for a second eviction. Accordingly, on the 
forenoon of Tuesday last, public attention was attracted to a dense volume 



205 

of smoke rising from the neighbourhood of the manse of Clyne, and it was 
soon found that Murray's cabin was on fire, and that workmen werfr 
actively employed in the demolition of its rude walls, the Magnus A pi)olo 
of the patriotic and humane labour of love being Mr. Patrick M'Giblx)n, 
Golspie, who, with crowbar in hand, and "with a heart of will, wrought in 
the good cause with astonishing energy, assisted (?) by a John Thomson, 
cartwright in Golspie, and a youth of some fifteen summei-s, glorying in 
the name of Mackay. The worthy three persevered in the ducal mission till 
the miserable hut was razed to the ground. Part of the poor creature's 
furniture was soon scattered here and there. A correspondent who wit- 
nessed the most part of the proceedings says : — '' I stood for a brief period, 
surveying the progress of the Hames and the torch-bearers, and then turned 
away in disgust from the scene, with the reverberation of H.M.S. Pein- 
brokts guns ringing in my ears, and thoughts occupying my mind that 
my pen fails to describe ; but thanking my jMaker that I was not born a 
Duke and left to tarnish a ducal coronet by such a deed of inhumanity. I 
again passed the spot when the work was finished. The walls were com- 
pletely levelled, and the timbers were still burning ; while the master of 
the ceremonies was retiring to a streamlet hard by, to wash his dirty hands. 
The outcasts had again to betake themselves to the cart shed, kindly given 
to them by the minister of Clyne, every other person in the district being 
afraid to do anything for them, or show them any kindness, dreading that 
for the simplest act of humanity towards one of the family they would be 
similarly treated. I may add that the blankets that Murray's sister had 
lying on her straw pallet were burned." 

To His Grace the Duke of Sutheland : 

May it please your Grace, — 

Such is the last act of eviction perpetrated in the name and by the 
authority of your Grace. We do not now enter upon the question of right 
of property involved in this case, and pending before the legal tribunals 
of the country; but admitting that your Grace were found to be the owner 
of the few square feet of valueless soil on which that hut stood, we ask 
your Grace, firmly, plainly, and lK)ldly, if it is like a **good Duke" to 
commit such an act of high handed cruelty and indefencible s|>oliation 1 
Would it have weakened the case before the court had your Grace allowed 
that poor man with his sister and little girls, quietly to occupy their 
HOME — a home of |)eace, contentment, and atlbction, as deep, as sincere, 
as lasting, as devoted as Dunrobin's palatial halls can boast of — until at 
least it is decided that your Grace had a legal right to burn them out ? 
Would it have diminished your Grace's happiness ; would it have dimmed 
the lustre of your Grace's coronet ; would it have infinitessimally neu- 
tralised your Grace's influence ; would it have redounded to your Grace's 
discredit, that you had allowed these poor creatures to return and occupy 
the little cot which you have now bui-ned and raised t A thousand times, 
No I ! My Lord Duke, your Grace seems to be forgetful, totally oblivious, 
sadly neglectful, of the times and their signs. We are not now living in 



206 

the seventeenth century. This is eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, whether 
your Grace pleases or no, with its enlightenment, its independence, its free 
press (thank God !) and its noble tendencies to respect the principles before 
persons. Remember, my Lord Duke, what you have done, and where. 
You have burned out a native of Sutherland, with his little girls; cast them 
into the open field till a good Samaritan allowed them the use of a cart 
shed, at a time when public sentiment is being thoroughly aroused to the 
indescribable and momentous importance of doing everything to encou- 
rage the peasantry of this country, and to secure their services in the 
nation's cause at this deeply perilous crisis. At the very time when the 
national ear is kept in a state of painful tension, almost hearing the voice 
of our brothers' and sisters' blood, spilled in oceans on the plains of Hin- 
dostan and calling on Britain to send relief; and when we almost see the 
smoke of desolation rising from revolted Indian provinces, all of a sudden, 
the smoke of a burning cottage is seen in Sutherland, and a wail of house- 
less, homeless, burned out females is heard from a Scotch county which 
boasts its possessor to be the husband of the mistress of Queen Victoria's 
robes. What a state of matters ! Look at it, my Lord Duke of Suther- 
land. It cannot, it must not last. We refrain from implicating in its 
vileness and guilt even the humblest serf that dared to soil his fingers with 
the dark deed. The blame, the responsibility is yours. There it rests, 
in all its effects and in all its forbidden features. Your Grace may calmly 
sit in your gilded saloon, surrounded by a loving family, with your fair 
children prattling on your knee ; your Grace's sycophantic followers and 
servile hangers-on may adroitly conceal from your Grace these and similar 
proceedings under your name, at your instance, and at your expense ; but 
the smoke of Donald Murray's cabin shall not soon die away ; the cries of 
Donald Murray's children shall find an echo ; and on the wings of the 
wind shall be carried the report of this last high-handed act of oppression 
and spoliation. 

Now my dear countrymen my labour is near an end, for if my 
health continues to decline as rapid as it has been doing for some time 
back, my pen is laid down never again to be taken up. So far as the 
Almighty favoured me with abilities, I did not swerve from performing 
my duty to society even in the face of persecution, oppression, privation, 
and the forsaking of dear friends and patrons; the most part of my 
labours are now before you under its deserved title. Gloomy Memories. 
Gloomy as they are, and thoroughly open to criticism, I challenge con- 
tradiction to any one charge I have made against the House of Sutherland 
or any other depopulating house in the Highlands of Scotland. Come 
then Mrs. B. Stowe, come you literary scourges and apologisers of high- 
land evictors, vindicate their ungodly and unconstitutional schemes and 
actions before the world now if you dare. Who have you attempted to 
crush? The sincere advocates of the Caledonian Celtic race and the 
exposers of their enemies. Who have you been calumniating in their 
moral and religious character, in their brave and chivalrous spirit, so cha- 
ractersitic of the race, who would, if you could, make the world believe 
that they were not half so valuable to the nation as sheep and red deer. 



207 

And unworthy of a home in Caledonia, the nursery of bravery and gallant 
«n conquerable warriors. You vi\e sycophants, did you ever consult 
General Abercrombe in Egypt, General Moore at Corunna, Wellington 
in the Peninsula, and at Waterloo, did you consult Lord Raglan in the 
Grimea, when proclaiming the taking of the Alma, by the Highland Bri- 
gade, and their intrepid bold stand l^efore the Russian cavalry at Bala- 
clava, when the fate of the British army depended that day upon their 
l)ravery. What would all the legions of German ])oltroons, all the deer- 
stalking snobs of England and Scotland, shepherds and dogs to boot, 
Avail Lord Raglan and the British army that day; What deprived the 
British army and Generals of the praise of taking Sebastopol 1 That the 
Highland Brigade under Colin Cami)bell were not brought forward to 
the first day's assault, they were brought up next day, but the Russians 
came to learn who they would have to deal with the second day and fled. 
You hired calumniatoi-s, oppressors, and dispersers of the Celtic race, 
did you consult General Havelock, who it seems never witnessed the 
undaunted bravery and prowess of Scottish Highlanders before, and ask 
him what made him exclaim "Well done, biave Highlanders T How many 
German cowards and town keelies or loafei*s would he take in exchange 
for this handful of brave Celts under his command. He would 
not accept of twenty to one. Did you consult the Genemls, and Com- 
manders-in-chief of the British Army at the present time, and they would 
tell you, however numerous and strong an army sent out upon an emer- 
gency minus of a Highland Brigade, that that army is deficient, and uncer- 
tain of success. To enumerate the many victories and laurels the Celtic 
race gained for ungrateful Britain would be an easy task, had history done 
them justice ; but when put to the test their enemies will find it a dillicult 
task to point out where they have failed to gain victory where bravery 
could obtain it. If the few of these men now embodied in two or three 
regiments are gaining and daserving the admiration of the world, what 
if 13ritain could boast of from 50,000 to 70,000 of such men, who would 
make her afraid ? But alas, the Caledonian nursery, by proper treat- 
ment, I aver, from which she could raise that number in time of need, 
is now a desolation, consigned to feed and rear brute animals. Our 
beloved Queen taking up her residence in the Highlands during the 
•deer-stalking months of the year, has turned up a curse for the remainder 
of the jieople, since then the country is fast becoming one vast Deer 
Forest. Oh ! my lady Queen, you should show the cruel monsters a bel- 
ter example, than to chase away the few Highlanders you have found 
upon the Balmoral Estate. 

Come, then, you calumniators of my people, apologisers of their des- 
troyers, and extirpators from their own rightful soil — I conclude by call- 
ing upon every British subject, every lover of justice, every sympathifler 
with suffering humanity, to disapprove of such unconstitutional and 
ungodly doings, and to remonstrate with the Queen and Government, 
HO as to put an end to such systems. Call you u])on the world to 
vindicate and exonerate them. 



208 

1 am now an old man bordering on seventy years of age ; symptoms 
of decay in the tabernacle convinces me that my race through time towaVds 
eternity is near at an end, when I will have to give an account for what I 
Avrite and leave on record. I hdve devoted the most of this time and the 
limited talents God has bestowed uponme, advocating the causeof the wrong 
and oppressed, as I said before, persuaded in my own mind that I could 
not serve God in a more acceptable way, nor yet discharge my duty to my 
country, my fellow creatures, and co-sufferers, more consistent with the . 
dictates of humanity, justice, and christian religion, in which I have ,t 
been nurtured and educated. (Yes and would spend ten more lives in j '. 
the same cause if bestowed upon me and needed). .1 cannot charge myself J« 
with recording one single false accusation against any one of these High- n 
land depopulators, yet some of them, or their hired apologists ; who dared 
not confront me while alive, may attack my character and dispute t\m 
veracity of my statements, and charges against them after I am dead and 
gone. Some has the audacity already to question my ability to write such 
a narrative as you have now before you, and bestowing the credit of it 
upon some one they know not. 1 have not much cause to boast of my 
abilities display ^4 in my Gloomy Narrative, only that I have performed 
what I considered my incumbent duty in society, and made the Ijest use I 
could of all the abilities bestowed upon me, but I challenge them to find 
out any one who have put one word or one idea into my head. I wish it to 
be known among my countrymen how willingly Mr. McWhinnie, editor 
and proprietor of the Woodstock Sentinel, volunteered to assist me in 
revising and reading the proof sheets, I hope he will not loose his reward. 
I know my enemies will accuse me of plagiarism ; I deny it, I gave cre- 
dit to every gentleman from whose writings I have made quotations. 

During the time I have been exposing the clearing system in the High- 
lands through the public press, I have received many private and public 
letters from almost every quarter of the empire and her colonies, en- 
couraging me in my labour and approving of my actions in very flattering 5 
terms, and passing eulogies upon me, many of which should have a place r 
in this work only for this, that my enemies and hired critics might 
construe them to self-praise, hence I have to suppress them ; but to let i 
my friendly readers know that my name is still alive in Scotland, and 
honourably mentioned there by the real friends and advocates of the 
Highlanders, and the unflinching exposers of their wrongs. I here sub- 
join a speech delivered in November last, by one of the most patriotic 
gentlemen with whom the clan Camj)bell or the Highlanders can claim 
connection, viz. Captain Campbell of Borlum : — 

A HIGHLANDER ON THE HIGHLANDS. 

Last week on the presentation of a handsome testimonial to Captain 
Campbell, Glasgow, by a number of friends and admirers, that gentle- 
man, whose enthusiasm in behalf of the cause of the Highlanders is so 
well known, made the following truly spirited and patriotic reply. 

Gentlemen, — I feel that my friend the chairman has, in his earnest 
and eloquent address, described my conduct and character in terms far 



209 

V>ove my merits ; hut I trust the time is yet distant when it will \te con 
'red in accordance either with good taste or proper feelings to apply 
rules of strict criticism to the innocent exaggerations so natural to 
itlemen of kind hearts and generous sympathies, on occasions like the 
sent. My military ser%'ices have been too brief to deserve the notice 
;pn of them by the chainnan. I joined the army at the beginning of the 
I ipaign of 1813, in the seat of war — I might almost say the 11'' " * 
1 , and was put on half pay so soon as our arms achieved the I 

J ve the satisfaction of knowing, however, that my conduct in p; 
♦^ enemy was considen^d by my brother otficers as not unwoi t 
nitry or my clan ; but the fact is, that every Highlander is inspired \>y 
liirth and traditions with the feelings In^st calculated to enable him to 
ir himself manfully on the field of battle. The Highlander who does 
t do so is untrue, not only to the name of his race, but also to the bosom 
on which he was nursed. That few such have ever aj' 
Highland soldiers, is proved by their conduct in battle, fr- .. f 

the wild and romantic battle of the Grampians, until that 
the illustrious Havelock gained his ninth \'ictory ai" '""* " ^' ^' 
on the arid plains of India. Hence it is that the I. 
the novelists and |ienny-a-liners of modem times se.iii net* rniin' - 
metamorphose into an Anglo-Saxon, is entitled to credit for havin;:. . 
his energetic enterprise and skilful industry, covered our plains with 
palaces and warehouses, and our seas with navies and argosies ; the \{\j,h 
iinder or Gael is entitled to cr- he patriotism and bravery, the 

abilities vigour, and trenchant till secure to our mountains the 

proud distinction of having pro itional extremity the unc<m 

quered citadel of our country's i ^ Alas, that we have seen 

the day when the citadel may be ascribed as dismantled and di8{K)iled of 
its warlik.- defenders, not by a brave and noble enemy but by an insidiotis 
ind un] r lend, aided and abetted by the public apathy. Had the 

public ii . ....^ i. iimined alive to the importance of preserving the clans to 
their country, the Highlands would have l>een at this day the beat military 
lursery in Kurope — a nursery capable of rearing legions upon legions of 
»tron«, brave, willing, and hardy soldiers, eager to enter into the sorvicr 
•f their IxOoved country*. Th«'ir never was a greater fallacy than the 
>itudiously inc»dcated and generally prevailing impression that the High 
lands are incapable of maintaining a large population in con' I 

prosperity. The straths, the vales, the glens, antl even the far • 
wil.i !s, up to an altittide of a thousand fe<'t alM»vi5 U»«- 

lev. rtile and Halubrious, and under a «yst«'m of hus- 

bandry 1 _iow all the ordinary' crops of this country ; while tiie 

value oi ; lance of all kinds of 6sh contained in the inland rn.d «mr 

rf)urulin^' seas can scarcely Ik' overstrained by the miwjt exprtnHi^ 
ation. Had tl" "I'l 'Ian system <»f managing estates l»een a<lhe! 
the modern ] s, or in other wortls, had the country, as of old. 

been covered «i.ii i.audets ^- ■'•■ ' imikI by a run^' '-^t'ltUtion. 

each family possessing a sn f the arable In '»wn 

sustenance, and every elachnn i ^ hole neighbouring i(i<.#.ings 

o 




land for the * 
heart worth \ 
cjfeacanc 
a^« whi 



210 



for the payment of its rents, the rentals would have been larger than they 
now are in the Highlands, and the country teeming with the most virtu- 
ous and warlike |>oj)ulation in the world. That the population are being 
expatriated, while such latent resources remained undeveloped, and while the 
Government are requiring a greatly increased array, is a national disgrace, 
and may prove a national calamity ; but are that disgrace and calamity 
not to be ascribed more to the infatuated adulajipftipf wealth and rank by 
the public than to the blindness or apathy df ihe^ Government? That 
such is the case lias been painfully confirmed l)y a paragraph which 
appeared in the newspapers the other day, showing that the great Gel tic- 
Society of Glasgow, from whose ])atriotism and independence of spiiit, as 
well as its professed object of conserving the poetry, the garb, and tin 
athletic games of the Highlanders, something very different was to be 
expected, applied for and obtained the patronage of the Duke of Suther- 
" vear. Now, gentlemen, no Highlander possessing a 
ame, who has perused the history' of the Sutherland 
. by that bra\e and noble hearted man, Donald M'Leod, 
s until this day uncontradicted, can assign to the Duke 
nghter page in the history of the Highlands than has 
another Duke since the battle of Culloden, I have 
been told that neither the Directors nor the Society have been consulted, 
nor are consenting parties to the application, and I trust that it is so : but 
it is humiliating to think that a single Highlander could be found in ( > i ^ 
gow capable of applying for or accepting the patronage of a clearaiux 
maker. Mr Chairman and gentlemen, allow me to assure you that 1 am 
at a loss for words in which adequat^j' to express my high sense and 
heart-felt appreciation of the tokens; 0f approval by which I have this da}' 
been honoured by so large a numlDcr of gentlemen, for e"\'ery one of whom 
1 have every reason to feel the warmest respect and est(||jn!^ and I beg 
leave to offer, not only to you who have attended this meeting, the.gn*ater 
number of you from so great a distance, but also, thrt)Ugh the committee, 
to all the other generous donors of this splendid testimonial, my proud 
and grateful thanks." 

Captain Campbell is a gentleman of high l>irth, moving among the most 
noble and educated order of society, not among those whose birth and 
position in the world blinds and deafens to the dictates and demand of 
Cluistian humanity, and to disown his country and countrymen evtni in 
distress, tranipled down and forsaken. "Well might he l)e surprised that 
a single Highlantler could be found in Glasgow, who would he cap^h of 
committing such an outrage upon the feelings of his true-hearted ojpnitry- 
men, as to apply and solicit the Duke of Sutherland to become the patron 
of a Celtic Society of any form ; but the one which would please him best, 
a society to extirpate the Celts, and their name and renlembratice from 
under heaven. 1 hope for tlie sake of the Society, and those connected 
with it, that the anti-highland villain, or villains who gave the call will be 
discovered and exposed, and he or thoy will be expelled frbra the society 
along with their patron, for n n serving or inconsistent nobleman 

el('ct<<l to T)e patron of a Hii;lilai could not be tound in all b^urope 



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